Bicyclists are some of Nevada’s most vulnerable road users, meaning they are at risk of suffering serious injuries in automobile accidents. For this reason, drivers should be especially careful when driving near cyclists. Taking extra caution when sharing the road with a bicyclist could save a life. As a cyclist, being proactive about your safety when biking near cars could protect you from a life-changing accident. Here are some tips from our Las Vegas bicycle accident attorneys.
Safety Tips for Drivers
Recent crash facts published by Zero Fatalities Nevada state that bicyclists made up 2.6 percent of the state’s total traffic fatalities. It is the state’s mission to bring this number down to zero by spreading knowledge of how to safely drive near and around vulnerable cyclists. When you get behind the wheel in Nevada, do your part to protect bicyclists in your community with the following tips:
- Increase your following distance. Give a biker plenty of room to maneuver. Keep at least three feet of clearance between your motor vehicle and a bicycle. This includes when passing a bike.
- Respect a biker’s right to the road. Yield to cyclists that are at intersections as you would for pedestrians and other drivers. Do not tailgate a cyclist, honk to express irritation, cut a cyclist off or pass too closely.
- Do not drive in a bicycle lane. Designated bicycle lanes in Nevada are for cyclists only. Do not drive or park in a bike lane unless you have to in order to make a turn or if you are experiencing an emergency.
Pay attention to the road and always be on the lookout for cyclists. This includes when opening your door to avoid “dooring” a cyclist, or hitting an oncoming biker with your door. Never text and drive or allow other distractions to take your attention off of the road. A bicyclist can appear out of nowhere, especially if your vehicle has large blind spots.
Safety Tips for Cyclists
If you enjoy riding a bike in Las Vegas, it is imperative to use a few tips to enhance your safety. A bicycle accident could inflict serious injuries, including broken bones or a traumatic brain injury. Protect yourself as much as possible by keeping the following in mind:
- You must obey traffic laws. Bicyclists are subject to the same roadway rules as motor vehicle drivers. This includes riding in the same direction as traffic and obeying signs and signals. Exercise special caution at intersections, where many bicycle accidents occur.
- You may not be as visible as you think. Drivers may have blind spots or may not be paying enough attention to spot your bike. Always assume that a driver does not see you. Improve your visibility by wearing bright colors and using a headlight if riding at night.
- You can benefit from using hand signals. Keeping your movements as predictable as possible for surrounding drivers can help prevent a collision. Use hand signals to indicate your intent to turn or stop.
- You should always wear a helmet. Even if state law does not require you to wear a helmet, you should wear one to protect yourself from a potential brain injury in a bicycle accident. Helmets are strongly recommended to protect cyclists from serious head and brain injuries.
If you get involved in a bicycle accident in Nevada despite your best efforts to avoid a crash, contact the attorneys at Koch & Brim, LLP for a free legal consultation. Our Las Vegas personal injury lawyers can give you legal advice and guidance to help you recover during this difficult time.