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Summer Brings an Increase in Biking and Accidents

The summer is a perfect time for everyone to spend time outside and enjoy the warm weather. Bicycling is a perfect way to enjoy the great outdoors with family and friends, and both Northern and Southern Nevada have plenty of bike paths and trails to enjoy. However, biking comes with its own risk, and you are 3.5 times more likely to be in a fatal accident on bike than while in a motor vehicle. Taking proper safety precautions can greatly reduce the risk of fatality and even injury while cycling in Nevada.

Nevada Bike Accident Statistics

In 2017, nearly 35,000 people were killed in traffic accidents. Of those fatalities, 783 were fatal bike accidents. During that year in Nevada, there were 328 lives lost in traffic accidents, 6 of which were cycling accidents. Statistics find that almost 3/4 of traffic accidents occur in urban areas. Additionally, only 4 percent of bike accidents occur in bike lanes and about half of the bike accidents occur in the daytime. Lastly, about 38 percent of the bike accidents occur between the summer and fall months.

In a 2019 article by 24/7 Wall Street, Las Vegas was ranked the third most dangerous city for bikers. [1] In Las Vegas, common accident areas include intersections on the Las Vegas Strip and there have been 19 intersections where four or more accidents have been reported. The three most dangerous intersections were Las Vegas Boulevard at Caesars Palace Dr, Nellis Boulevard at Cedar Avenue, and Las Vegas Blvd at Flamingo Road. Tropicana and Sahara Avenue also reported high accident rates. Some causes of accidents were due to rider error including not yielding to the right of way, failing to obey traffic laws and signals, and riding against traffic. Errors of the drivers involved in the accident was also a factor in many accidents. [4]

Driver and Biker Safety Precautions

As a biker, it is important to follow some precautions to keep yourself safe on the road. The following are some general rules to always follow while riding:

  1. Go with the flow of the traffic.
  2. Obey all traffic laws a car would abide. A bike is not exempt from these laws, and a bike is still a vehicle and you a driver.
  3. Yield to traffic when appropriate; do not try to weave through traffic or cut through traffic.
  4. Be predictable.
  5. Stay Alert.
  6. Utilize hand gestures to signal to drivers if you are turning, changing lanes, etc.
  7. Accompany young children and teach them proper hand signals and safety precautions. Younger children tend to be less predictable making them more susceptible to getting in an accident.
  8. Wear a helmet—while it may seem obvious it is the best way to prevent fatalities or serious injuries like traumatic brain injury.

As a driver, it is important to be mindful of bikers and share the road with them. The following are some safety tips for drivers that help ensure the safety of everyone on the road, including bikers:

  1. Stay alert to your surroundings
  2. Communicate your intentions with the use of signals and give people enough time to react to those signals before acting on them.
  3. Be cautious at intersection and extra cautious when visibility is limited, such as during the night, when there is bright sunlight, or weather events.
  4. Slow Down and Obey the Speed Limit— The Regional Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan For Southern Nevada found that a cyclist has a 89 percent chance of survival at 25mph but only a 35 percent chance when the vehicle is traveling at 45 miles per hour. [2]

Places to Ride a Bike in Nevada and Surrounding Areas

There are plenty of beautiful trails that allow Nevadans to ride their bike and enjoy the outdoors without the risk of a traffic accident. The following are some trials in Southern Nevada: Burkholder Trail, Historic Railroad Trail, Wetlands Park, Pittman Wash Trail, Union Pacific Railroad Trail, and  Cornerstone Park. [3] For Northern Nevadans, Tahoe is a short drive away and there are many bike trails up there that can be enjoyed such as the Tahoe East Shore Trail, Flume Trail, East Shore Trail, and the 64 Acres Tahoe Rim Trail. There are also many bike trails along the Truckee River and along Veterans Parkway.  For further information on bike paths in the Reno area, see the RTC Washoe Bike map of Reno and Sparks.






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