With the growing popularity of the biking, there have been more and more accidents involving automobiles and bicycles. The following is a simple discussion of the legal rules and regulations that apply to bicyclists and motorists.
Rules Regulating Motorists/Legal Rights of Bikes
The Nevada Revised Statute below explains the duties and responsibilities motorists have with respect to cyclists.
1. The driver of a motor vehicle shall not intentionally interfere with the movement of a person lawfully riding a bicycle or an electric bicycle.
2. When overtaking or passing a bicycle or electric bicycle proceeding in the same direction, the driver of a motor vehicle shall exercise due care and:
(a) If there is more than one lane for traffic proceeding in the same direction, move the vehicle to the lane to the immediate left, if the lane is available and moving into the lane is reasonably safe; or
(b) If there is only one lane for traffic proceeding in the same direction, pass to the left of the bicycle or electric bicycle at a safe distance, which must be not less than 3 feet between any portion of the vehicle and the bicycle or electric bicycle, and shall not move again to the right side of the highway until the vehicle is safely clear of the overtaken bicycle or electric bicycle.
3. The driver of a motor vehicle shall yield the right-of-way to any person riding a bicycle or an electric bicycle on the pathway or lane. The driver of a motor vehicle shall not enter, stop, stand, park or drive within a pathway or lane provided for bicycles or electric bicycles except:
(a) When entering or exiting an alley or driveway;
(b) When operating or parking a disabled vehicle;
(c) To avoid conflict with other traffic;
(d) In the performance of official duties;
(e) In compliance with the directions of a police officer; or
(f) In an emergency.
4. Except as otherwise provided in subsection 3, the driver of a motor vehicle shall not enter or proceed through an intersection while driving within a pathway or lane provided for bicycles or electric bicycles.
5. The driver of a motor vehicle shall:
(a) Exercise due care to avoid a collision with a person riding a bicycle or an electric bicycle; and
(b) Give an audible warning with the horn of the vehicle if appropriate and when necessary to avoid such a collision.
6. If, while violating any provision of subsections 1 to 5, inclusive, the driver of a motor vehicle is the proximate cause of a collision with a person riding a bicycle, the driver is subject to the additional penalty set forth in subsection 4 of NRS 484B.653
7. The operator of a bicycle or an electric bicycle shall not:
(a) Intentionally interfere with the movement of a motor vehicle; or
(b) Overtake and pass a motor vehicle unless the operator can do so safely without endangering himself or herself or the occupants of the motor vehicle.
Sorry to subject you to all that legalese. Yet the statute provides some good information! Automobile drivers have a responsibility to “exercise due care” in their interactions with bicyclists. This means that drivers not only may not force bikes off the road at their pleasure, but in fact, do everything possible within reason, to protect bicyclists as fellow motorists. For example, when a motorist wants to pass a bicyclist, he or she must (if possible) move into the left lane of the road, or pass with at least three feet of clearance.
Rules Regulating Cyclists
Because Nevada law considers bicycles to be vehicles, cyclists are subject to rules of the road in a similar way. The Nevada DMV advises cyclists to:
- Ride on the right side of the road. Although riding two abreast is permitted, it is advised that you ride single-file in high traffic areas.
- Obey the traffics laws as if you were driving a car.
- Ensure they have functioning brakes.
- Not cling to vehicles.
- Use hand signals when appropriate.
- Ride at least three feet away from parked cars.
- At night,
- Have a white lamp in front of the bike visible from five hundred feet.
- Have a red tail reflector visible from three hundred feet.
- Have reflective material on the side of the bike visible from 600 feet.
In addition, Nevada law does not require cyclists to wear a helmet, although the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says wearing a helmet may reduce head injury by up to 85%. Anyone living in Las Vegas has to like those kind of odds.