Riding season is upon us! Whether that means being a weekend warrior cruising through Death Valley on your hog, cycling with your riding club through Red Rock Canyon or simply commuting to work every day on two wheels, it’s time to get out and ride.
As a motorcycle and bicycle rider, and as a lawyer, there are important things I advise all riders â€” and other drivers â€” to be aware of so they remain safe on our valley’s roads.
Nevada’s latest law affecting motorcycle and bicycle riders became effective Oct. 1, 2014. It states that if a rider â€” motorcycle, bicycle or otherwise â€” has waited for two traffic signal rotations at an intersection, he or she can move through, even if the light is red. The rider still must make sure he is safely yielding to pedestrians and other traffic. The law came into place because motorcycles, bicycles and mopeds often are unable to trigger a traffic light change.
Tips for riders
- Wear a helmet: Nevada law requires all motorcyclists to wear approved helmets.
- Follow the laws of the road: Helmets save lives, but bikers also can increase their safety on the road by following traffic laws to the letter. Too often I see reports about motorcycle riders killed because they were riding too fast, running red lights or doing trick maneuvers (wheelies, burnouts, etc.) on busy city streets. There is a place for riding excessively fast: the race track. Las Vegas Motor Speedway is only 30 minutes away and has track days and advanced riding courses for motorcycles multiple times per month.
- Be aware of your surroundings: Respect your bike and be aware of your surroundings. No one wins in a motorcycle crash, so let’s all look out for each other.
Tips for riders and drivers
- A motorcycle operator has the right to use a complete traffic lane. Two motorcycles also may share a single lane, side by side or staggered.
- Because motorcycles are small and may have only one headlight, they can appear further away than they actually are.
- Motorcycle riders are vulnerable to high winds, road surface changes and wind from other vehicles, so give them space to maneuver such obstacles.
- Turn signals on many motorcycles don’t turn off automatically, so use extra caution when overtaking riders with their turn signals on.
- One of the most controversial laws that affect motorcycle riders in Southern Nevada is the prohibition on lane splitting. Lane splitting occurs when a rider moves between two cars in adjoining lanes to advance in traffic. The practice is illegal in Nevada, however many motorcyclists feel it is a safe option.
Nearly 25 percent of the traffic fatalities last year in Metro’s jurisdiction were motorcyclists.