Although the purpose of this article is to provide the law regarding bicycling without a helmet, just because something is legal does not make it a good idea.
Bicyclists in Nevada must follow the same rules of the road as the driver of a vehicle, subject to a few enumerated exceptions. For example, in most cases, it is perfectly legal for a bicyclist to ride on the sidewalks. There is an exception in Las Vegas (1) on Fremont Street between Main and Seventh (most of that is the Fremont Street Experience) and (2) where the Director of Public Works determines there is a safety need to prohibit bicycle use on sidewalks and there is a sign posted. See Las Vegas Municipal Code 11.40.180. There are no such prohibitions in Henderson.
For the most part, though, a bicyclist must follow the same rules as the road as other vehicles. But there are certain laws that apply only to bicyclists. Requiring the use of a helmet is not one of them.
The statewide statutes applying to bicyclists can be found at NRS 484B.760–783. And although a requirement that bicycle helmets be worn is not among the rules, the Nevada Department of Transportation strongly encourages that all bicyclists wear helmets.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that 90% of all bicyclists killed nationally were not wearing helmets. Approximately 83% of bicycle fatalities were riders over 20, so helmets are not only important for children, but also for adults. Read the Nevada Department of Transportation‘s FAQ regarding bicycle use in Nevada for more information.
Thus, although you can’t get a ticket for not wearing a helmet in Nevada, you can still get dead. Be safe.
Zachariah B. Parry is an attorney and founding partner at the law firm Parry & Pfau and is an adjunct professor who teaches torts, contracts, and Nevada practice and procedure for UNLV’s paralegal program. He can be reached at 702-912-4451 or firstname.lastname@example.org.