Nevada is one of the most dangerous states in America when it comes to motorcycle accidents. According to The Las Vegas Independent, motorcycles accounted for 21 percent of the 395 roadway fatalities in the state in 2022 and ranked fifth in 2021 for the highest rate of fatal motorcycle crashes. To help make the roads safer for bikers and other motorists, the state recently passed a law that should close a motorcycle license loophole. The Las Vegas motorcycle accident lawyers at ER Injury Attorneys explain the Nevada motorcycle license requirement changes below.
The Previous Motorcycle License Loophole
Although Nevada Revised Statute 486.061 states that a “a valid motorcycle driver’s license” is required to operate a bike, people that failed the official Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) test were still able to obtain a license. As an example, The Independent reported that David Bandbaz failed the DMV test, but passed a course given by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). He used the MSF certificate to obtain a Nevada Class M license.
The MSF is a not-for-profit organization that is sponsored by U.S. manufacturers and distributors of BMW, BRP, Harley-Davidson, Honda, Indian Motorcycle, Kawasaki, KTM, Suzuki, Triumph, and Yamaha. Considering where its money comes from, it behooves the organization to have as many licensed drivers on the road as possible.
Bandbaz claimed that the MSF course used smaller-than-average-sized bikes and taught the basics of motorcycle safety, but students could not go faster than 30 mph. While this may have given him a good overview of Nevada motorcycle laws, it did not prepare him for real-world riding conditions. Six months after obtaining his license, Banbaz fell off his bike and broke his hand.
SB423 Adds a Nevada Motorcycle License Requirement Change
After his accident, David Bandbaz did more research on Nevada motorcycle licenses. He discovered that roughly 44% of fatal bike crashes in the state involved unlicensed drivers. However, he was unable to find exact figures on people that obtained motorcycle licenses through third-party courses like he did.
Bandbaz worked with State Senator Dallas Harris to change how motorcycle license offenses are issued in Nevada. After several rounds of trial and error, Harris introduced State Bill 423, a growth and infrastructure bill that was largely developed by Bandbaz. SB423 introduced a major change to how unlicensed motorcycle drivers are handled.
Previously, most unlicensed bikers were given a fine, which left them free to ride–and endanger other motorists–again. SB423 introduced legislation that says a court must allow offenders to complete a course of motorcycle safety in lieu of a fine and the course must be completed within nine months of the offense. Once the course is completed, any points on the offenders license from the citation would be removed.
The goal of SB423 is to turn unsafe motorcycle drivers into safe ones, rather than merely punishing them with fines. Governor Joe Lombardo signed SB423 on June 01, 2023 and it is currently being integrated into Nevada law.
More Nevada Motorcycle License Requirement Changes to Come?
Bandbaz and Harris originally had a second component to their bill–one that required mandatory retesting every eight years for Nevada Class M License holders. The rationale behind that was that riding a motorcycle is more complex and demanding than driving a car. People that haven’t operated a motorbike in years or decades may pose a danger to other motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.
However, the two found resistance to that component of the bill. Opposing legislators claimed that there was not enough data to show the retesting was necessary and taking any action now would be government overreach. Bandbaz is determined to research the issue further and work with Harris on a new bill. He said:
People like to think that with motorcycle riders, it must be somebody else’s fault. It must have been the weather. But nobody ever looks at the rider’s skill level. 97% of motorcycle fatalities happened in clear, not cloudy weather. One-quarter of motorcyclists died hitting something, hit a fixed object. This kind of pointed to me that maybe these riders are losing their skills.
Injured by an Unlicensed Motorcycle Driver?
The Las Vegas injury lawyers at ER Injury Attorneys applaud any law that makes the roads safer for Nevadans. Hopefully the Class M Nevada motorcycle license requirement change makes a difference. Unfortunately, until the law is fully integrated, there is a chance of being injured by an unlicensed motorbike driver. If you or a member of your family have been injured in such a manner then contact us for immediate assistance.
You can reach ER Injury Attorneys’ team of experienced Nevada lawyers 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We are available by phone at 702-878-7878 and online through LiveChat or encrypted contact form. Our firm represents injury victims throughout Nevada, including Henderson, Summerlin, Pahrump, Boulder City, Laughlin, and beyond.
Our attorneys are committed to getting you the highest settlement possible, while allowing you to focus on recovery without the stress of dealing with insurance companies. Take the first step towards the money that you deserve and reach out to us today.