We often caution valley residents on pedestrian safety and remind readers of the high pedestrian fatality rate in Clark County. Numerous news outlets report similar figures and attempt to notify Las Vegans of the alarming amount of pedestrian deaths as well. However, bicyclists also face potentially dangerous conditions throughout southern Nevada and risk injury on a daily basis. 2017 saw an uptick in fatalities with the deaths of seven bicyclists, ranking Clark County third on a list of the most dangerous places for cyclists in the country. While this figure is distressing, it may not come as a surprise to anyone who regularly bikes or drives in Clark Country. Many stretches of road lack clearly-defined (or any) bicycle lanes, and road conditions in some areas have deteriorated to the extent that bicyclists cannot safely traverse the path. Legally, drivers are required to allot cyclists at least three feet of space from the vehicle or shift to another lane, but many motorists are not aware of or do not follow this regulation, often contributing to traffic congestion and even collisions. In an effort to reduce the risk to cyclists, all Clark Country residents should keep in mind that:
- As a cyclist, always wear bright or reflective clothing when riding, even in broad daylight. You should never ride at night without attaching a light to either your helmet or the back of your bicycle. These are often more visible to drivers than bright clothing or headwear at night.
- Always wear a helmet and any additional protective materials you own when riding, regardless of the duration of your trip or the amount of traffic you expect to encounter.
- Drivers, do not be surprised to see a cyclist on the road. Despite the Las Vegas heat and the inadequate conditions for riders, thousands of people regularly bike for both daily transportation and recreation. Stay calm and remain a minimum of 3 feet away from any cyclist. As usual, always signal and double-check immediately to your left if you plan to change lanes to avoid a cyclist.
Remember, in Nevada it is legal to ride a bicycle only on sections of sidewalk that cover public property. You cannot operate a bicycle on stretches of private property without the consent of the property owner, which means that the sidewalks along Las Vegas Boulevard/The Strip are off-limits to cyclists as property of the adjacent casino(s) unless otherwise stated. Also, while no state law prohibits riding on a public sidewalk, there may be additional limitations based on municipal or county ordinances or particular conditions. Consequently, cyclists should look into local ordinances for any area through which you plan on riding and, as a habit, avoid going onto the sidewalk. Though it may be unsettling for cyclists and motorists alike, anyone riding a bicycle should remain in the designated bike lane to the far right of traffic.
In the event of any collision with a cyclist or pedestrian, seek medical attention immediately and ensure that everyone involved receives proper attention from first responders. Do not proceed with legal action until you have been examined by a physician. When seeking legal representation, make sure you hire a reputable personal injury attorney/firm that is invested in your health and well-being. Call us at (702) 852-6688 to obtain representation for you and your family. For more information about cycling in Clark County, visit the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition website.