May is National Bike Month, and ER Injury Attorneys is highlighting the importance of Las Vegas biking safety. Between 2015 and 2019, 41 bicyclists lost their lives on Nevada roadways. Each year, hundreds more pedalcyclists suffer from personal injuries caused by other motorists, bicyclists, and sometimes even pedestrians.
Las Vegas doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to prioritizing the safety of those who ride their bikes—the organization People For Bikes recently rated Las Vegas just 1.4 out of 5 stars when it comes to bicycle safety, despite the fact that biking is becoming increasingly popular throughout the Valley.
In this blog, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys examine the risks our local roads pose for bicyclists and offer safety tips to help riders avoid a bicycle accident.
What Makes Las Vegas Dangerous for Bicyclists?
In 2015, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration named Las Vegas among the top three dangerous cities for bicyclists, second only to Albuquerque and Tucson. But what makes biking in Las Vegas so risky? There are several major contributing factors to bicycle injuries and fatalities in Las Vegas.
Although there’s more than 500 miles of designated bike llanes across the city, Las Vegas drivers aren’t known for being accommodating towards cyclists. Many drivers are ignorant of Nevada bicycle laws or simply refuse to share the road.
Others engage in unsafe behaviors like speeding, not yielding the right of way, driving in bike lanes, texting and driving, or driving under the influence. For this reason, commuting on both urban and suburban roads is often a challenge for bike riders.
In addition, Vegas roads are plagued by near-constant construction as the city continues to grow and infrastructure must be expanded to accommodate the influx of residents (and tourists). Unfortunately, active construction zones are bad news for most roadway users, and are often the site of car accidents and other traffic problems. Unfamiliarity with roadways, bottlenecking vehicles, unexpected lane shifts, and confusing signage can all contribute to a higher risk of accidents for vulnerable road users like bicyclists.
How to Stay Safe While Riding Your Bike in Las Vegas
Although legislation and safety measures protecting bicyclists in Southern Nevada are still a work in progress, the number of residents and visitors riding bikes through the Valley continues to increase every year. You can’t always control what other drivers do on the road, but you can protect yourself by following these Las Vegas biking safety tips endorsed by the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition:
- Protect Your Head. In the event of a collision with a motor vehicle, bicyclists are at a distinct disadvantage. Every bike ride should begin by putting on your helmet, no matter how close your destination is. In addition, make sure your bike helmet fits properly—it should be snug, but not uncomfortable. Thousands of brain injuries could be prevented every year if all cyclists followed this tip.
- Stay Visible. Sometimes even attentive, law-abiding drivers hit a bicyclist due to low visibility. You can increase your visibility to drivers by wearing brightly-colored clothing or gear and by utilizing front and rear bike lights, even during the day.
- Use Bicycle Friendly Routes. Sticking to areas with lower speed limits, wider shoulders, and designated bike lanes can save your life. You can download helpful bike maps online by visiting the Regional Transportation Commission of Southern Nevada (RTC) website.
- Be Predictable. Bicyclists can’t expect other motorists to be mind readers. Just as cars should utilize their turn signals, cyclists should indicate 100 feet before turning by extending their arm in the direction of the turn. Be sure to also check over your shoulder before changing lanes, and avoid swerving or darting in between vehicles.
- Ride Defensively. Just as drivers should always drive defensively, so too should bike riders ride defensively. You can do this by staying clear of the curbside, staying out of vehicles’ blind spots, yielding the right of way to pedestrians, making eye contact with motorists at intersections, and always assuming that other motorists cannot see you—even when you have right of way.
What to Do If You’re Hit by a Car in Las Vegas
Despite taking all the proper precautions and riding safely, sometimes even the most conscientious bicyclists are injured by another motorist. If you or someone you love has been injured while riding your bike in Las Vegas through no fault of your own, you could be entitled to significant compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain, suffering, and more.
To find out how a Las Vegas bike accident attorney may be able to help you establish your claim and maximize your settlement, contact ER Injury Attorneys by calling 702-968-7500. Our experienced attorneys offer free, no obligation consultations in which we’ll review your case and provide you with all your legal options. Should you decide to move forward with our services, you won’t pay us a penny unless we make a financial recovery on your behalf. Contact us today for more information.