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Las Vegas is a popular bicycling destination with a history of serious bike accidents
Given the dry weather year-round, bicycling is a popular outdoor sport in Nevada and the Las Vegas region. To support the interests and safety of bicyclists, Las Vegas has 444 miles of bike lanes and 102 miles of paved off-road trails.
Despite safety improvements, bicycle accidents are common in Las Vegas
According to Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center, in 2012, 726 lost their lives in bicycle/motor vehicle crashes nationally, just under two people every day of the year in the U.S. And according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2012 1.2% of traffic fatalities in Nevada involved a bicyclist. While that number appears small, given the vastly higher number of motor vehicles on the roads, the death rate from bicycle crashes is high. Go here to read the Nevada Statewide Bicycle Safety Plan.
Bicycling Laws in Las Vegas
Nevada traffic-safety laws now include increased penalties for drivers that cause harm to bicyclists and a law requiring motorists to safely move from the right-hand lane or pass a bicyclist with at least three feet of space for safety. According to the State of Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles:
- When bicycles are ridden with other traffic, cyclists must obey the same rules and regulations as motor vehicles.
- At intersections, motorists must yield to cyclists as they would for other vehicles and pedestrians.
- When passing a cyclist, motorists must move into an adjacent lane to the left if possible. If not, the motorist must pass with at least 3 feet of clearance.
- Motorists must yield the right-of-way to a cyclist on a bicycle path or in a bike lane.
- Motorists may not stop, park or drive on a designated bicycle path or lane unless they are entering or leaving an alley or driveway, performing official duties, directed by a police officer, or in an emergency situation.
- A cyclist is required to ride on the right side of the roadway.
- A bicycle must be equipped with a white lamp in the front, visible from at least 500 feet.
Go here to learn more about Nevada bicycling laws.
Get information here on bicycle crashes and Las Vegas law enforcement
The Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department offers information on traffic and accidents, and also provides information on filing a police report after a serious bicycle crash. The department is a good resource for local residents and visitors alike to get information and assistance after a bicycle accident.
Las Vegas bicycle crashes have common causes and deadly outcomes
While helmets and proper reflective gear make bicycling safer, riding a bicycle is riskier than driving a car. Maintaining control is more difficult on two wheels, and when collisions happen, bicyclists are at greater risk of serious injury or death because they don't have an enclosed vehicle for protection.
Common causes of bicycle crashes include:
- Motorist turning across path of cyclist;
- Cyclist riding into the path of a motor vehicle;
- Cyclist turning right from a major road and from a minor road;
- Child cyclist playing or riding too fast.
When someone is injured in a Las Vegas bicycle accident, what needs to happen next?
In an injury bike crash, it is crucial to get appropriate medical treatment, regardless of the financial cost. The major hospitals in the area include:
- Centennial Hills Hospital;
- Desert Springs Hospital;
- Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center;
- Valley Hospital Medical Center;
- Summerlin Hospital Medical Center;
- University Medical Center.
As soon as possible, an injured person visiting from out of town should contact their insurance company to find out how out-of-network treatment is covered under their insurance policy. Since insurance policies often have unique provisions to deal with bicycle-accident injuries, it is important to review the policy and speak with the insurance adjuster to get clarification on coverage.
When a bicycle collision is serious or fatal, it is important to find a Las Vegas bike accident attorney
When a bicycle accident, caused by the negligence of a motorist, results in serious injury or death, the next step is to find an experienced Las Vegas attorney to start the financial recovery process by launching an insurance claim. Major injury or wrongful death claims are complicated and can be hard to manage without legal help. Having a personal injury lawyer on board is a great relief to injured bicyclists, or to the family left behind when an accident proves fatal. Since most personal injury lawyers offer a free initial consultation and work on a contingency basis, meaning that there are no up-front costs and all fees are paid when the claim is settled, there is no downside to speaking with an injury attorney right away, to get help for an injured bicyclist.