It is easy to think of a bicycle as a toy and forget that the law treats it as a vehicle. Bicycle riders have the same rights and obligations as cars, trucks or motorcycles. Adam Kutner represents people injured while riding bicycles, so he understands the serious consequences that can result from a bicycle-related accident.
Traffic Accidents Involving Bicycles
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) most recently released statistics, 52,000 bicycle riders were injured in crashes with motor vehicles in 2010. Of those, 18 percent were 14 years of age or younger. There were also 618 people killed while riding a bicycle.
National Safe Routes to School Program
To decrease motor vehicle use, decrease pollution and improve people’s health, the federal government is actively encouraging people to walk and bicycle to their destinations. In conjunction, the government has provided federal funding for each state, including Nevada, to set up a Safe Roads to School Program (SR2S).
The SR2S initiative brings engineers, law enforcement, teachers and parents together in a collaborative effort to encourage walking and bicycle riding while simultaneously making these activities safer. Most of the funding is for the construction of sidewalks and other infrastructure improvement projects. The balance is for education and enforcement.
Nevada Bicycle-related Laws
In Nevada, a bicycle rider must obey the rules of the road and has all of the rights of a car driver. This means that both car drivers and bicycle riders must follow speed limits, ride to the right side of the road and obey the traffic laws.
Several Nevada laws focus on protecting the bicycle rider from other vehicles. Adam Kutner represents injured bicycle riders who are hurt when motorists violate laws. These include:
• Motorists must yield the right-of-way to bicycle riders at intersections
• Motorists cannot park or drive in a designated bike lane or bike path
• Motorists must leave at least three feet of space between their vehicle and a bicycle they are passing on the road
• Motorists are prohibited from throwing objects from their vehicles at or toward a bicycle rider
Safe Bicycle Riding
Safe riding starts with obeying the law, wearing bright or reflective clothing, equipping the bicycle with lights and reflectors for night riding, and keeping the bicycle in good repair. Personal injury attorney Adam Kutner believes riders can reduce their risk of becoming injured or killed in an accident if they wear helmets that meet minimum government standards. This appears to be supported by the NHTSA, which reports that helmets worn by bicycle riders are 85 to 88 percent effective in reducing the severity of head injuries in a crash.