Bicycle Accident Prevention Urgency

Importance of Bicycle Safety and Awareness

Bicycle fatalities are on the rise. Already this year, seven cyclists have died while riding their bikes in and around Clark County. This number is extremely high, especially considering there were no bicyclist deaths last year and one fatality in 2013. In order to help prevent such tragic fatalities, it’s crucial that every person on the road understands bicycle accident prevention, safety measures and Nevada law.

Director of UNLV’s Vulnerable Road Users Project, Erin Breen reported, “four of the fatalities involved cyclists in intersections or in marked crosswalks. Two of those killed were children. Four of the seven involved a driver error.” In addition, all of the seven bicyclists who died this year were not wearing bike helmets. Severe head trauma is usually contributed to the deaths. It is important for cyclists to always wear a hard-shell, fitted helmet and bike safety is becoming more and more important with the increase of fatalities this year.

Members of public office, Las Vegas Metro Police Department (LVMPD), cyclists and family who have lost loved ones in bicycle accidents recently gathered at University Medical Center to discuss the issue of bike safety. They want to raise awareness on the part of drivers and bicyclists. At the gathering, Metro Sgt. Richard Strader remarked that “bicyclists are bound by the same rules as drivers” and to “pay attention and respect those people on the roadway.”

Distracted drivers are a common cause for bicycle accidents and drivers who fail to check crucial blind spots won’t see a bicycle rider which could result in a collision. Bicyclists have the right of way, yet many drivers fail to yield to them. Buses are also often guilty of neglecting to look out for bicyclists. Similarly, a driver who is not paying attention may hit the bicyclist with a door as he or she exits a vehicle.

As bicycling becomes more popular as a recreational activity, for exercise, and as a greener transportation option, cycling safety is very important for everyone on the road.


Bicycle Safety Tips

Aside from recommending the use of bike helmets that fit properly, here are some bicycle safety tips from the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC):

  • Cyclists should ride on the right side of the road, in the same direction as traffic. It is not recommended to ride against the flow of traffic.
  • Be alert for cars pulling out and use caution when approaching driveways and parked cars. It’s best to assume drivers do not see you so approach with care and maintain a car door’s width from parked cars and watch for parked motorists swinging their car doors open.
  • Sidewalks are designed for pedestrians not bicyclists, since bicyclists travel faster than walking speeds. Therefore ride where motorists expect you to be, in bicycle lanes and with flow of traffic.
  • Use hand signals to communicate with motorists, indicating what you intend to do next; turns require a hand signal 100 feet beforehand.
  • It is Nevada law, that night bicyclists have a white headlight in the front visible from at least 500 feet away, and a red tail reflector visible in a vehicle’s low beams from 300 feet.
  • Wear bright clothing during the day and reflective clothing at night.
  • Bicyclists should walk bikes through crosswalks not ride.

In addition to these bike safety rules, when passing, drivers should give bicyclists at least 3-feet of distance by law and change lanes to the left when possible. When approaching the intersection, drivers should slow down.

Bicyclists in need of a helmet can obtain one for free by going online to the Ped Safe website.

Visit these sites and sources for more bike safety rules, resources and tips:

  • The Nevada DMV has an informational flyer with rules to follow and bike safety tips.
  • The Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) of Southern Nevada also has bike routes and trail maps for those interested in biking around the valley.
  • The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) has their own website which shares biking tips, education and safety, as well as planning and infrastructure for bike routes and facilities.