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A Guide To Frequently
Bicycles and Vehicles
BICYCLE & PEDESTRIAN
Share the Road
ON MULTI-LANE ROADS
For more information on Nevada’s
Bicycle Safety and Education Programs,
Nevada Department of Transportation Bicycle and Pedestrian Program (775) 888-RIDE (7433) Cycling In Nevada Nevada is a wonderful place to bicycle. Whether your riding preference is on a roadway or down a dirt trail, Nevada’s wide open spaces and scenic beauty lends itself to top notch cycling. Nevada’s bicycling clubs and organizations, many of them with heritages back to the early days of the State, offer the opportunity for camaraderie, socializing and safety in numbers.
If you like an organized approach, each year Nevada offers numerous bicycling events for all types of riders in all types of terrains. Check with local bicycle shops, retailers and clubs for events and organized rides throughout the state.
F.A.Q.’s This booklet discusses many of the bicycling questions most often asked by the public.
Q1: Is a bicycle a vehicle?
No, a Bicycle, as deﬁned under Nevada’s laws, is not a vehicle.
“Bicycle” means a device propelled by human power upon which a person may ride, having two tandem wheels either of which is over 14 inches in diameter, or every such device generally recognized as a bicycle though equipped with two front or two rear wheels except a moped.
(NRS 484A.025) “Electric bicycle” means a device upon which a person may ride, having two or three wheels, or every such device generally recognized as a bicycle that has fully operable pedals and is propelled by a small electric engine which produces not more than 1 gross brake horsepower and which produces not more than 750 watts ﬁnal output,
1. Is designed to travel on not more than three wheels in contact with the ground but is not a tractor; and
2. Powered solely by such a small electric engine, is capable of a maximum speed of not more than 20 miles per hour on a ﬂat surface while carrying an operator who weighs 170 pounds.
The term does not include a moped.
(NRS 484B.017) The deﬁnition of a vehicle speciﬁcally excludes “devices moved by human power”.
“Vehicle” means every device in, upon or by which any person or
property is or may be transported or drawn upon a highway, except:
1. Devices moved by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails; and
2. Electric personal assistive mobility devices as deﬁned in NRS 482.029.
(NRS 484A.320) Q2:
Can a bicyclist ride in the travel lanes with vehicles?
Yes. When upon a roadway, bicyclists have the same rights, and must follow the same rules (as applicable), as motor vehicles drivers.
Every person riding a bicycle or an electric bicycle upon a roadway has all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle except as otherwise provide in NRS 484B.767 to 484B.783 inclusive, and except as to those provisions of Chapters 484A to 484E, inclusive, of NRS which by their nature can have no application.
Please note that:
“Roadway” means that portion of a highway which is improved and ordinarily used for vehicular trafc, exclusive of the shoulder.
(NRS 484A.220) Q3:
Do bicyclists have to ride in the shoulder?
No. While most bicyclists will prefer to ride as far from passing trafc as possible there is no law that requires bicycles to be relegated to the highway shoulders. Unless designated by markings and/or signage as a “Bicycle Lane”, Shoulder conditions vary and are generally not engineered for travel. Care should be taken when riding in mixed travel lanes and, unless making a turn or going at a comparable rate of speed, cyclists must ride as far to the right as is practicable within the travel lanes (“Roadway” is deﬁned under NRS 484A.220, see Q2 above).
Q4: Can a motor vehicle operate in a bicycle lane?
A: No. Motor vehicles may not operate within bicycle lanes except under special circumstances.
Except as otherwise provided (above), the driver of a motor vehicle shall not enter or proceed through an intersection while driving within a pathway or lane provided for bicycles or electric bicycles.
(NRS 484B.270) Q5.
How may a rider carry belongings or other necessities while bicycling?
Riders may carry belongings as long as they maintain at least one hand on the handlebars at all times. If needed, riders may need to use a backpack or panniers to assist them in bicycling when carrying articles.
No person operating a bicycle or an electric bicycle shall carry any package, bundle or article which prevents the driver from keeping at least one hand upon the handle bars.
(NRS 484B.780) Q6.
What is required to ride a bicycle at night?
Nevada law requires the following for bicycling at night:
o A white headlight o A red rear reﬂector o Reﬂectors on each side NOTE: A rear taillight does not eliminate the need for a rear red reﬂector under the law.
Every bicycle or electric bicycle when in use at night must be
(a) A lamp on the front which emits a white light visible from a distance of at least 500 feet to the front;
(b) A red reﬂector on the rear of a type approved by the Department which must be visible from 50 feet to 300 feet to the rear when directly in front of lawful lower beams of headlamps on a motor vehicle; and (c) Reﬂective material of a sufcient size and reﬂectivity to be visible from both sides of the bicycle for 600 feet when directly in front of the lawful lower beams of the headlamps of a motor vehicle, or in lieu of such material, a lighted lamp visible from both sides from a distance of at least 500 feet.
(NRS 484B.783) Q7.
When are lights required?
Nevada law speciﬁcally deﬁnes when lighting is required;
Q8. Can a bicyclist ride on a sidewalk?
Yes (subject to location). There is no State law that prohibits a bicyclist from riding on the sidewalk, however, there may be local laws (ordinances, municipal codes, etc.) that prohibit bicyclists in certain locations or under certain conditions. Bicyclists need to check with the local jurisdiction (city, county, etc.) before they attempt to ride on a sidewalk.
If you do choose to ride upon a sidewalk, and the local jurisdiction allows it, please ride with caution. A few tips if you choose to ride on a
1. GO SLOW- Remember that there will be pedestrians on the sidewalk too. Pedestrians may be moving slower than a bicyclist.
2. MAKE OTHER USERS AWARE- Use an audible warning when approaching a pedestrians. Use a bell or a verbal warning to alert the pedestrian that you are behind them. Only pass on the left and only once you are sure the pedestrian is aware of your presence.
3. DRIVEWAYS- Every driveway is a potential conﬂict point when riding upon a sidewalk. Cars backing out of their driveway will not be used to looking for bikes crossing behind them at a faster speed than a pedestrian. Use caution as you cross these points.
4. CROSS AT CROSSWALKS- If you are traveling on the sidewalk you may end up at a marked or unmarked pedestrian crosswalk. Be courteous and dismount when using these pedestrian facilities
5. BE PREDICTABLE- Avoid transitioning repeatedly from sidewalk to roadway as this movement is unpredictable and unsafe.
Does Nevada law require a bicyclist to wear a helmet?
No. There is no law that requires a rider, no matter the age, to wear a helmet in Nevada. Wearing a helmet is highly recommended for rider safety. The National Highway Trafc Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics estimate that nationally, 9 out of 10 bicyclists killed were not wearing helmets and despite this stat only 20-25% of all bicyclists wear bicycle helmets. While a common misconception is that most bicycle crashes involve children, 83% of bicyclists fatalities were riders over 20 years old.
While there may not be a law in place to wear a helmet, it is a proven component of any safe bicycle ride no matter what the riders age.
Q10. Can a bicyclist receive a citation for trafc violations?
Yes. A bicyclist can receive a citation if they are not following applicable state and local laws. As outlined in Question 2, a bicyclist is subject to all duties applicable to a driver of a vehicle.
(NRS 484B.763) Q11. Should a bicyclist ride with trafc or against it?
With trafc. You should always ride with trafc when upon a road way. Riding with trafc is a predictable movement that motor vehicle drivers will expect. Be predictable, avoid erratic movements, swerving, riding in and out of parked cars and be courteous to other roadway users.
Only ride your bike if it is safe. If you need assistance with your repairs, contact your local bike shop.
Q13. How many people may be carried on a bicycle?
No more than the bicycle was designed and equipped for.
1. A person propelling a bicycle or an electric bicycle shall not ride other than upon or astride a permanent and regular seat thereto.
(NRS 484B.770) Q14. What is a designated “Bicycle Lane”?
A portion of the roadway, engineered to accommodate bicycle travel, generally 5 or more feet wide, marked by longitudinal lines and a stencil of a “rider on a bicycle” located in the center of the lane at intermittent intervals. Intermittent signage may also be used but is not required.
A common misconception is that anywhere a white longitudinal line is painted near the shoulder it is a bicycle lane. This is not the case. Solid white lines (edge markings or fog lines) are commonly provided on the right side of a roadway to help vehicle drivers maintain their lane. The white longitudinal line, on its own, does not designate a bicycle lane in Nevada. It must also have a “rider on a bicycle” stencil and meet minimum federal width criteria to be a bicycle lane. The number and placement of stencils may vary based on the speciﬁc roadway environment.
Q15. Can a pedestrian walk in the bicycle lane?
No. A pedestrian may not walk in a bicycle lane, or any portion of a highway, if there are sidewalks available for their use.
Where sidewalks are provided, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent highway.
(NRS 484B.297) An exception to this would be when no sidewalks are provided and no additional shoulder areas exist. In this situation bicycle lanes may be the only area available for pedestrians. Note; when no sidewalks are provided, pedestrians must walk on the left side of the roadway facing trafc.
Pedestrians walking along highways where sidewalks are not provided shall walk on the left side of those highways facing the approaching trafc.
(NRS 484B.297) Q16. What is a “Shared Lane” or “Sharrow”?
The Shared Lane marking, or “Sharrow”, is a pavement marking installed in a right hand travel lane that indicates, to both bicyclists and motor vehicle drivers, that the lane is to be shared by both vehicles and bicycles. It appears as a bicycle symbol with 2 chevron markings above. When you see this symbol you are allowed to ride in the full lane. Shared Lane markings may also be used to convey direction and or routing for bicyclists.
Q17. Do bicyclists always have to signal when executing a turn?
Yes. Bicyclists must use hand signals unless it would be unsafe to do so.
You must operate the way a motor vehicle would.
Q19. Does the bicycle passing law also apply when a bicycle lane is provided?
Yes. There is no provision in NRS 484B.270 which addresses difering bicycle facility types. The law applies any time a bicycle is being overtaken.
Q20. Are there exceptions from the requirement for a bicyclist to signal?
Yes. Bicyclists are allowed exceptions related to safe operation and control of the bicycle.
Q21. What hand signals must a bicyclist use?
Bicyclists must use the same hand signals as are required for motor vehicles. Bicyclists may also use the right arm extended horizontally for a right turn.
An operator of a bicycle or an electric bicycle upon a roadway shall give all signals by hand and arm in the manner required by NRS 484B.420, except that the operator may give a signal for a right turn by extending his or her right hand and arm horizontally and to the right side of the bicycle or electric bicycle.
(NRS 484B.769) Signaling Q22. In the event that there is no safe opportunity to pass a bicyclist (as outlined in NRS 484B.270), does the bicyclist have a responsibility to move of the roadway?
Yes. Under the responsibilities of a bicyclist to follow the same duties of a vehicle upon a roadway, once 5 or more vehicles are lined up behind, a bicyclist must move of the roadway when it is safe to do so.
Q24. Can a bicyclist continue through a red light when the signal has not detected them?