Passing laws: Nebraska requires that in the event a motor vehicle passes a bicycle it shall leave a safe distance, not less than 3 feet, when passing the bicycle.
Helmet law: There is no state law in Nebraska that requires the operator of a bicycle to wear a helmet. However, although not required by law it is strongly recommended.
Laws to Protect the Bicyclist: There are certain laws entitled “vulnerable user laws.” These laws, in essence, require the vehicle least at risk to yield to the vehicle most at risk. For example, a motor vehicle would have to yield to a bicycle and a bicycle would have to yield to a pedestrian. Nebraska does not have any specific vulnerable laws.
Distracted Driving Laws: As almost every bicyclist knows, distracted driving creates one of the most dangerous risks to a bicycle on a public road way. Every state has varying laws to attempt to reduce the amount of distracted driving that exist. Nonetheless, it still presents a serious problem.
In Nebraska there have been laws passed to attempt to reduce distracted driving by punishing violators. Here is a summary of the present laws:
- No person shall use a wireless communication device to read a written communication, manually type a written communication, or send a written communication while operating a motor vehicle which is in motion;
- A person who holds an LPE learners permit shall not use any type of interactive wireless communication device while operating a motor vehicle on the highways of this state; and
- No operator of a commercial motor vehicle shall engage in texting while driving.
Lane Position Laws for a Bicyclist: Generally speaking, Nebraska law requires bicyclists to be as close to the right hand edge of the road as possible. However there are some important exceptions that I will outline below:
- When passing another bicycle or vehicle proceeding in the same direction;
- When preparing to take a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway;
- When reasonably necessary to avoid unsafe conditions such as riding in a lane that is too narrow;
- When lawfully operating on the paved shoulder of a highway in the state highway system; or
- When upon a one-way highway with two or more marked traffic lanes, in which case a bicyclist may ride as near the left-hand curb or edge of such roadway as practicable.
Sidewalk Riding: Nebraska does not have a statute that specifically authorizes or prohibits the operation of a bicycle upon a sidewalk.
If there is a sidewalk or bike path available, a person on a bike must use it. Unless there is a paved shoulder on a highway, in that event the biker can choose where to ride.
Riding a Bike under the Influence: Obviously, it is never a good idea to drive any vehicle under the influence of alcohol However, in Nebraska bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Nebraska’s law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to motor vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. However bicycles should not be operated while under the influence of alcohol.
Stop Sign Laws: In Nebraska bicycles have to follow the same rules as motor vehicles regarding the requirement to come to a complete stop when directed to stop by traffic control devices and Nebraska does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.
Important Resources and Links