Is it Legal to Ride a Horse on the Road?

In most states across the nation, it is legal to ride a horse on the road. In fact, many states provide the same rights and duties to a person riding an animal or driving a vehicle drawn by an animal as to a person in a motor vehicle. Nevada is no exception to this rule.

Chapter 484B of Nevada Revised Statutes (NRS) expressly grants all the rights to every person riding an animal or driving an animal-drawn vehicle on the highway. These individuals, however, are also subject to all of the same duties applicable to other drivers. The exception is those provisions of the law that, by their nature, cannot be applied to someone using an animal as a mode of transportation. Horses, of course, fall under this area of Nevada’s traffic laws.

Rules of the Road

Nevada has a basic rule that requires drivers (and, by extension, riders) to drive at reasonable and proper speeds. Consequently, in addition to following any posted speed limits, drivers (and riders) must consider several factors including the type and amount of traffic on the road, the weather conditions, the road conditions, and any other relevant factors. In other words, depending on the circumstances, the proper speed may be significantly lower than the posted limit.

The use of hand-held cell phones including texting or accessing the internet while driving (and riding) is illegal in Nevada. There are exceptions to this ban, however. Some include:

  • Using a hands-free headset and using the touch phone to activate, deactivate, or initiate a feature or function on the phone;

  • Persons reporting a medical emergency, criminal activity, or safety hazard;

  • Drivers using a two-way radio or citizen band that mandates a license and has a separate, hand-held microphone;

  • Law enforcement officers and first responders using the device within the scope of employment; and

  • Utility workers using devices provided by the company and responding to an emergency or outage.

Riding Under the Influence

Not surprisingly, it is illegal to ride a horse on a Nevada highway while intoxicated. Under state law, failure to submit to a blood, urine, or breath test as directed by law enforcement results in a driver’s (or rider’s) license revocation. The license may be revoked for a minimum of one year. Moreover, if Nevada law enforcement obtains a court order or a warrant, a blood sample may be drawn without the individual’s consent.

The legal limits under Nevada law is a blood alcohol level of .08% or any detectable amount of a controlled substance. If the person is under the age of 21, the legal limit is .02%. If the person is a commercial driver, the legal limit is .04%. Driving above the legal limit can result in a driver’s license revocation of at least 90 days upon arrest. The vehicle (and possibly the animal) may also be impounded. These penalties are administrative, meaning they go into effect immediately. A Nevada judge may impose additional criminal penalties if a conviction results.

Legal Help

In short, it is legal to ride a horse on the road in Nevada as long as the rider obeys all of the other laws that are applicable to roadway traffic. If you or someone you know has been hurt in an accident in Nevada (whether or not it included a horse) contact the skilled personal injury attorneys at Parry & Pfau today.

(image courtesy of Danny Gallegos)