Under Nevada State law, bicycles are not included in the same category as motor vehicles. Nonetheless, they have similar obligations and rights, and if their rights are violated, they have access to legal recourse.
When Cars and Bicycles Share the Road
As bike lanes and signed routes proliferate throughout Las Vegas, more and more cyclists run the risk of becoming involved in an accident with a motor vehicle. Unlike many other states, Nevada does not put bicycles in the same category as cars and trucks. Nevertheless, cyclists are charged with following the same rules as motorists when applicable. Conversely, motorists must exercise due care if they are sharing the road with a cyclist.
Passing a Bicycle
Sharrows are lanes that have been designated for the shared use of bicycles and motor vehicles by means of appropriate signage. NRS 484B.270 stipulates that if there is not sufficient room for a motor vehicle to pass, then that vehicle must wait until a safe opportunity presents itself. This law applies, in fact, any time a bicycle and a motor vehicle share the road even if the bicycle is using a lane that has been designated solely for the use of bicycles. As is the case with a slow-moving motor vehicle, the cyclist has a responsibility to pull over to let traffic pass as soon as it is safe to do so, if five or more vehicles have lined up behind him or her.
When cyclists share a lane with motorists, it is safer that a cyclist take up the entire lane rather than hug the right side. This increases visibility at intersections where accidents between motor vehicles and bicycles most often occur when drivers are making turns. It also decreases the risk that a vehicle will pass a bicycle too closely on the left, which could topple the bicycle and cause an injury.
Protecting Your Own Best Interests
If, despite taking safety precautions, you are involved in an accident while cycling, be sure to fill out a police report at the scene. Sometimes accident injuries can be more serious than they seem at first, and drivers who were initially apologetic may attempt to deny their own culpability at a later date. An experienced personal injury attorney may be able to help you protect your rights if a motorist’s negligence caused your bicycle accident.