Given the year-round warm climate in Las Vegas coupled with Reno and Lake Tahoe’s flux of bicycling in the spring, summer and fall, thousands of bicyclists take to the streets every single day, whether commuting to work or simply looking for recreational exercise. Although cyclists are a growing, evolving community in Nevada, there continue to be those drivers who do not recognize cyclists as having the right of way.
Many people in Las Vegas use bicycles as a viable alternative to driving a car or walking. These individuals may use bikes for transportation to work, to school, or just for pleasure. With over 400 miles of bike lanes, 180 miles of bike paths, and wide, well-maintained streets, Las Vegas is an excellent city for bicyclists. However, bicyclists in Las Vegas face many risks, as do those in other major U.S. cities.
Nevada experienced 328 bicyclist traffic fatalities in 2016. According to Nevada Public Radio, a bicyclist died in an accident with a taxicab in November 2017, which constituted the 115th traffic fatality in Las Vegas in that year. In 2017 alone, the United States experienced 5,977 pedestrian fatalities and 783 bicyclist fatalities in automobile accidents. Together these vulnerable road users account for a growing share of total U.S. traffic fatalities. In 2003, pedestrians and bicyclists represented 12.6 percent of total traffic fatalities, and in 2017, they accounted for 18.2 percent of fatalities.
Furthermore, each year more than 135 children die from injuries induced from accidents while bicycling, and approximately 267,000 cyclists receive injuries severe enough to require emergency room attention. Many bicycle accidents go unreported over the course of a year when the biker is not injured to a certain severity level, proving that bike accidents are more prevalent than one may think.
The dedicated Las Vegas bicycle accident attorneys of Benson & Bingham have helped injured bicyclists recover compensation after being injured by someone else’s negligence.
At Benson & Bingham, we are ready to help protect you in any way if injured in a bicycle accident. However, in order for a biker to avoid liability in the unfortunate event of an accident, it is important for a rider to follow Nevada Statutes regarding bicycle law which are explained below.
Nevada has specific laws that govern the operation of bicycles in the state. Many of the rules mirror those for motor vehicles. However, safe passing is the motorist’s responsibility. When passing, a driver must move into an adjacent lane to the left, if possible. If the driver cannot safely change lanes to pass a bicyclist, he or she must allow at least 3 feet of clearance between the car and the bicycle. Drivers of motor vehicles must yield to cyclists at intersections, just as for pedestrians and other vehicles. Motorists should not drive or park in designated bicycle lanes unless they are turning or in the case of an emergency. Furthermore, drivers must take special care around inexperienced riders, such as children.
There are also rules that apply specifically to bicyclists, including:
Many bikers fail to comply with the aforementioned statues of Nevada law, and therefore assume liability in the event of an accident. If you are uncertain, Benson & Bingham offer free consultations to determine if you were under compliance with all Nevada Bicycle Laws, and is willing to provide you or a loved one with legal assistance to help retain recovery in the event of a bicycle accident. Contact Us today for a no obligation, free consultation to discuss your rights.
To help prevent future accidents, it’s important to understand the common causes of bicycle accidents. Nationwide, 58 percent of bicyclist fatalities take place at non-intersections, and 45 percent occur in dark conditions.
The position of the bicyclist relative to the motor vehicle is a critical factor. Below we discuss some accidents that are caused by unsafe positioning:
Paying attention and driving responsibly is the best way to prevent an accident. Below we discuss some of the most common risky driving behaviors that endanger bicyclists.
Bicyclists should ride defensively and take appropriate safety measures to avoid accidents. They should ensure that they are as visible as possible, wear a properly fitted helmet, and check their bicycle’s equipment before every ride. Always remain alert and listen for cars approaching from the rear and sides. Do not follow cars closely or ride in their blind spots; ride defensively. When biking, you may expect other vehicles to yield the right of way, but you cannot assume that they will do so. Instead, assume the other driver does not see you and always remain on the lookout for hazards, such as potholes, grates, or anything that may cause you to fall.
To help decrease your risk of being involved in a crash, keep these bicycle safety facts in mind:
According to an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety study, 45 percent of bicycle accident fatalities occurred when a motor vehicle was traveling in the same direction as the bicyclist, and 40 percent of serious bicycle collisions occurred when a car rear-ended the bicyclist. Thus, bicyclists are more likely to sustain an injury by being rear-ended by a car than any other way. The second most likely cause of a serious collision is a T-bone scenario, where a car runs into a cyclist while crossing its path perpendicularly. When a bicycle collides with a car, it’s usually the cyclist who sustains the brunt of the damage. Accidents often result in fatalities, especially when the car is going fast or the cyclist is not wearing a helmet. Even in non-fatal accidents, the cyclist may sustain serious, long-term disabilities.
Injuries sustained in serious collisions include:
If you’ve sustained an injury in a bicycle accident, you should seek both economic and non-economic damages in your personal injury claim. Economic damages include monetary losses, such as medical bills and lost wages. Non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering, are more subjective and difficult to calculate. However, in the event of a catastrophic injury, some non-economic losses are significant because of serious injuries that can change your entire life.
Potential damages that you may receive following a bicycle traffic accident include:
Both bicyclists and drivers are bound by rules of the road. These rules include traffic laws for cars and any special state or local rules created specifically for cyclists. Both bicyclists and drivers must exercise care when on the road.
Negligence is at the root of many lawsuits, including personal injury cases. Negligence involves a person who owes a duty of care to another person and breaches that duty. In such an event, the negligent party is liable for any resulting injuries.
When a bicyclist files a lawsuit against a driver for injuries suffered in an accident, negligent behavior on the part of one or both parties is a critical factor. Driver negligence can take many forms, such as running a stop sign, speeding, or improperly using designated lanes. But what if the cyclist is partially at fault? Nevada follows the doctrine of modified comparative negligence , which means that a plaintiff can collect compensation from all other at-fault parties, so long as a court determines that the plaintiff was not 50 percent or more responsible for the accident.
If you’re involved in a bicycle accident, you should first move to a safe area and seek medical care as soon as possible. Even if you think you are okay, or that your injuries are minor, some injuries may not show up until days or even weeks later. It is important for your health that you receive prompt treatment. Also, medical records are important evidence that your attorney will use to prove that you were actually injured in the accident. Consider the following tips: When riding a bicycle, carry a cell phone, personal identification, and emergency contact information.
As bicycling becomes more popular, you need to take appropriate safety measures to stay safe on the roads. If you or a loved one has been involved in a bicycle accident, you need to speak with an experienced, compassionate Las Vegas bicycle accident attorney. Our legal team has the experience and resources necessary to gather evidence and develop a strong case. Nevada’s statute of limitations laws impose strict time limits on when you may file a personal injury claim, so it is important to retain an attorney as soon as possible. Call Benson & Bingham at (702) 382-9797, or contact us online, to schedule a free consultation with an experienced member of our legal team.