38°F
weather icon Overcast

Cycling allowed on most state roads

Updated December 16, 2020 - 4:42 pm

Despite the high speed limit set on many state roads, cycling is allowed on the majority of them under Nevada law.

This includes the stretch of U.S. Highway 95 near Searchlight where five cyclists were killed Dec. 10. The speed limit there is up to 75 mph, according to Tony Illia, Nevada Department of Transportation spokesman.

“(State) law calls for providing three feet of space for cyclists and/or moving over one lane on multi-lane roads,” Illia said in an email.

There are only a handful of state roads in Nevada that bicycles are not allowed on.

The restricted roads in Southern Nevada are:

■ Interstate 15 between Jean to the south and Lamb Boulevard to the north.

■ U.S. 95 between Wagonwheel Drive in Henderson and Kyle Canyon Road in the northwest.

■ 215 Beltway on its entire route.

Before Dec. 10’s multiple fatal crash, cyclist deaths in Clark County were down 50 percent year-over-year through November with three fatal incidents, state data showed. That is despite fatal crashes overall in the county being up 7 percent through the first 11 months of 2020.

Ride with the flow

Cyclists are allowed to travel on roadways with motor vehicles, but should use bike lanes or shoulders whenever possible. Those riding bikes with traffic are required to travel with the flow of traffic, not against it.

Although not engineered for bicycle travel, road shoulders that are 4 feet or more in width can provide added safety for bicyclists while allowing for vehicle traffic flow, NDOT’s Cycling Factbook says. When a bicyclist must share a mixed travel lane with vehicles, the bicyclist needs to ride as far to the right as is practicable within the travel lanes, unless making a turn or going at a comparable rate of speed.

All roadway users should use every opportunity to share the road with others, the factbook reads.

“Whether it’s a state road or a regular ol’ road, the law is very clear that obligation is on the motorist to give wide berth to the cyclist,” said avid cyclist and Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones.

If five or more vehicles are lined up behind a cyclist, he or she is required to move to the side of the road when it’s safe to allow those vehicles to pass.

Cyclists are not required to wear a helmet while riding, although state officials highly recommend the use of them to potentially prevent a serious or fatal injury in the event of a crash.

Motor vehicles are not allowed to travel in bike lanes except under special circumstances, including avoiding a conflict with traffic, an emergency, under the order of a law enforcement officer and entering an alley or driveway, according state law.

State law also requires cyclists to have a white headlight, a red rear reflector and reflectors on each side of a bike for night riding. Having a rear tail light does not exclude a rider from also having a rear red reflector.

State law does not prohibit cyclists from riding on sidewalks, but riders are encouraged to check with the local jurisdiction’s regulations.

Close calls

Jones often rides on state Routes 159 and 160, popular rides for area enthusiasts that includes Red Rock Canyon, where he’s had near-misses with vehicles.

“I have had my close calls but I’ve been fortunate not to have been in a serious incident,” Jones said.

The Dec. 10. fatal crash, he said, “gives me pause on whether I’ll be back there on my bike right now, because it’s just too close to home.”

Jones believes many in the cycling community could be having second thoughts about road riding.

“One of my good friends is bike lead for Life Time (Fitness) and he told me this morning he’s maybe selling his road bike and sticking to mountains,” Jones said. “He’s just too concerned. He had been hit by a motorist a year or so ago. I do think it’s going to have an effect. It will give a lot of us a pause before we’re confident on getting out there on the road again.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@ reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
Study: Solar panels improve desert life

The solar panels in the Eldorado Valley outside of Boulder City could help desert plants and wildlife because of how they direct rainwater into the ground, according to researchers with Las Vegas’ Desert Research Institute.

Vaccine clinics scheduled

Some Boulder City residents will be able to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free locally, starting Monday, Jan. 25.

Vece joins race for council seat

With five days remaining until the filing period for those wishing to run for a seat on the City Council officially opens, the pool of candidates continues to grow.

Planning begins for students to return to campuses

Local leaders are unsure how they will implement new guidance from the school district about reopening campuses to students and teachers.

Vaccine questions answered

Boulder City Hospital adheres to federal, state and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidelines for the distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. Due to the limited quantity available of the newly developed vaccine, a tiered system has been implemented and identifies vulnerable populations to be immunized.

Salary range, guidelines set for new city attorney, manager

The search for the next city manager and city attorney is a little more defined as City Council recently approved the salary range and compensation package for each position.

Purpose of proposed ballot question contested

City Council is divided on whether safety or growth is the purpose of a proposed ballot question about airport capital improvement projects and have yet to decide about moving forward with it.

Three announce plans to seek council seat

Candidate filing for Boulder City’s 2021 municipal election starts in less than two weeks and three residents have already announced their intention to run for city office.

Temporary staff check for COVID compliance

Boulder City is using temporary part-time code enforcement officers to help ensure that local businesses are complying with current health and safety guidelines for the pandemic.

Two council seats up for election

The 2021 municipal election will see residents voting to fill two seats on City Council as well as offer guidance on some community issues.