Passing laws: A motor vehicle shall never interfere with the movement of a bicycle. Nevada requires that in the event a motor vehicle passes a bicycle it shall leave a safe distance. If there are two lanes of traffic, the motor vehicle shall pass using the left lane, if available. If not available, then the vehicle shall pass with not less than 3 feet between it and the the bicycle.
Helmet law: There is no state law in Nevada 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. Nevada does not have any specific vulnerable laws, but has enacted laws that protect the bicyclist.
Nevada law requires that:
- A person shall not throw a stone or other object at a bicycle; or
- Shall not injure, deface or damage any bicycle or any part thereof.
In the event a motor vehicle violates any appropriate traffic laws within a school zone or by failing to pass a bicycle by 3 feet or more and as a result thereof injures a cyclist, then there will be increased penalties and fines for the operator of the motor vehicle.
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 Nevada 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 manually type text into a cellular or wireless communications device, or send or read data or search or access the internet to engage in any non-voice communications, including texting; and
- Shall not use a wireless communications device for verbal communication unless it is hands free.
Lane Position Laws for a Bicyclist: Generally speaking Nevada 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 travelling same speed as traffic;
- When preparing to take a left turn at an intersection or into a private road or driveway; or
- When doing so would not be safe.
Sidewalk Riding: There are no laws that authorize nor prohibit the use of a bicycle on a sidwalk. It is important to note that Nevada does not require that bicyclists use any lane or path other than a normal vehicular traffic lane. So if there is a sidewalk, the choice of road or sidewalk is yours to make.
Riding a Bike under the Influence: Obviously, it is never a good idea to drive any vehicle under the influence of alcohol. However, in Nevada, bicycles are not defined as vehicles. Nevada’s law prohibiting driving while under the influence of alcohol or other controlled substances is written so that it applies to vehicles and therefore does not directly apply to bicyclists. However bicycles should not be operated while under the influence and a bicyclist may potentially be charged with a DUI because bicyclists are subject to the duties applicable to vehicles as defined by Nevada statute.
Stop Sign Laws: In Nevada 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 Nevada does not authorize bicyclists to disobey traffic lights that fail to detect bicyclists.
Important Resources and Links