We were stoked to get this special guest article from Deanna Power of P. I. Law, who wrote, “it can be challenging to get to point A to point B safely, so I wrote this article on how bicyclists have the option to file a personal injury claim if a car hits them in Nevada. A lot of people don’t realize that they aren’t always liable for hospital bills when injured by a motorist so long as they were following local bicycle regulations.” Thanks to Deanna and her team for the resources they provide. Educate yourself by reading on!
Nevada’s roads are often traveled by bicyclists as well as motor vehicle operators. Although Nevada law doesn’t define a bicycle as a vehicle, cyclists are still afforded the same rights and responsibilities as any traveler on the road. As such, you must obey traffic laws, including those that apply to all vehicles as well as those that are specific to operating a bike on a public roadway.
Nevada Bike Laws
A personal injury claim can cover your medical expenses, property damage, and other compensation to which you may be entitled, if you’re involved in a bicycle accident in the state. The success of your claim can be affected by your adherence to general traffic laws and bike-specific laws.
- Helmet Laws– Nevada has no state helmet laws for bike riders of any age, but wearing a proper safety helmet is strongly recommended by the Nevada Department of Transportation. For this reason, failing to wear a helmet can negatively affect your personal injury claim, especially if you suffer a head injury. The Duckwater Indian Reservation and the Reno/Sparks Indian Colony are the only areas in Nevada where wearing a helmet is mandatory.
- Bike Lanes, Road Sharing, and Sidewalks – If a bike lane or passable shoulder is available, cyclists are expected to ride there. Bicycles are also permitted to ride with other traffic on public roadways when there is no shoulder or bike lane. Sidewalk riding is not forbidden by state law, but local ordinances may restrict it in some locations. Bicycles are even allowed on many of Nevada’s freeways and interstates, but there are areas where bikes are not allowed on these thoroughfares. Restricted areas are clearly marked with signage.
- Passengers and Packages – One hand must always be on the handlebars, even if the rider is carrying a package of some kind. Passengers are only permitted if the bike is designed to safely accommodate them.
Motorists must provide cyclists the same considerations as any other vehicle on the road and must also ensure they give bike riders at least three feet of clearance when passing them on a two-lane road. If passing a bike on a multi-lane road, state law requires other vehicles give the bike rider a full lane of clearance. Failure to follow these or any other bike-specific or general traffic laws can lead to a motorist being found at fault for a traffic accident.
Bicycle Equipment Requirements
A lack of proper bike equipment can affect a personal injury claim. Likewise, a bike that is not in safe operating condition, like one with a broken chain or one with poor brakes, can compromise your claim as well. Failing to ensure regular bike maintenance may lead to you being found partially or entirely at fault for an accident in some cases.
Any bicycle on the road after dark in Nevada must have:
- a white headlight,
- a red, rear reflector,
- and side reflectors.
If you’re on the road one half hour before sunrise or after sunset, you must use your safety light. Safety lights are also required during inclement weather or other conditions in which lighting is darker than average. Every bike on the road is additionally required to have functional brakes.
Fault and Personal Injury Claims
Nevada uses comparative fault when evaluating personal injury claims, which means that both you and a motorist can be found partially at fault for an accident. So long as you are less than 50% at fault, you can still file a claim in Nevada. Your settlement will be reduced by the percentage fault you share.
Example: Rick was riding his bike when he was hit by a car and suffered head injuries. He was not wearing a helmet, and he was texting while on his bike. Because Rick was distracted and didn’t properly protect himself, the jury found Rick 30% at fault for the accident. He was awarded $10,000 for his injuries, but his settlement was reduced to $7,000 to compensate for his negligence.
Filing a Bicycle Accident Personal Injury Claim
Initially filling a claim will start with a demand letter, which you write and send to the motorist’s insurance company. If your settlement request is denied, then you can take the claim to court.
Nevada bike accident personal injury claims are typically filed in the county in which the accident occurred. The county courthouse is the proper location for filing a legal petition for a lawsuit. Here are just few of Nevada’s county courthouses at which bike accident lawsuits may be filed and heard:
- Churchill County – 71 N. Maine St, Fallon, NV 89406
- Clark County – 200 S. 3rd St., Las Vegas, NV 89101
- Douglas County – 1616 8th St., Minden, NV 89423
- Elko County – 571 Idaho St., Elko, NV 89801
- Lincoln County – 181 N. Main St., Pioche, NV 89043
This article was provided by Personal Injury Law and not by an attorney, and the accuracy of the content is not warranted or guaranteed. If you wish to receive legal advice about a specific problem, you should contact a licensed attorney in your area.