Guest written by Tony Capsuoto, Vice President, Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition
This Spring, you can expect to see more cyclists than ever out on the roads in Las Vegas. According to local bike shop owners like Jared Fisher of Las Vegas Cyclery/Escape Adventure, shops in Las Vegas had a hard time keeping bikes in stock during the pandemic. “We sold through our inventory three times last year,” said Fisher. That’s a part of the inspiration behind the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition’s (SNVBC) new education campaign, Change Lanes for Bikes. It’s the Law!
A local nonprofit cycling advocacy group, SNVBC rolled out the new education campaign in January, in the aftermath of the December 10, 2020 cycling tragedy that took the lives of five Las Vegas cyclists. The campaign is designed to educate motorists of an existing ”3-Feet/Move Over Law” that requires drivers to give bicycles a minimum of 3 feet when passing or to yield when there is no bike lane.
Nevada is one of 33 states to enforce a 3-Feet law and is one of five states to specify that motorists should move into an adjacent lane to the left if the lane is available when passing a cyclist. The campaign’s goal is to achieve zero collisions, ending traffic fatalities of cyclists.
According to the National Highway Traffic & Safety Administration, in 2018, there were 857 cyclists killed by motorists, up 6.3% from 2017. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 35.6% of overall traffic fatalities are pedestrian and bicycles. If motorists are found at-fault in a collision with a cyclist or pedestrian, motorists may be charged with reckless driving. Other penalties include a driver’s license suspension.
Education of both motorists and cyclists is critical so that all road users can arrive to their destinations safely. For more information or to become a member of SNVBC, please visit www.SNVBC.org.