Is Lane-Splitting Legal in Nevada?

Riding a motorcycle in Las Vegas is a great way to get around. Beyond that, motorcycles have become a fun lifestyle and hobby for many Americans. That being said, there are risks that come with riding a motorcycle on Nevada’s roads and highways. Studies show that motorcyclists are nearly 30 times more likely to die in a traffic accident than those in passenger vehicles. In 2017, as much as one-sixth of all traffic-related deaths in Nevada were on a motorcycle, resulting in 51 biker deaths in that single year.

Nevada Traffic Law

Unlike other states, “lane-splitting” is illegal in Nevada. Lane-splitting happens when a motorcyclist travels between lanes of traffic and in between vehicles, darting through moving traffic to get ahead. When there is a traffic jam or a delay on the road, motorcyclists are tempted to, and often do, lane-split. This practice, however, is illegal under Nevada law. Simply put, state law prohibits motorcycles and mopeds to be operated in between vehicles in traffic or regular lanes on the state’s roads and highways. This prohibition is true whether or not the cars are moving.

Aside from lane-splitting, motorcyclists cannot use the additional space within a lane of traffic or in between two or more lanes of traffic to pass other vehicles. Motorcycles must pass other vehicles just like cars have to, from a separate lane. The same is true of vehicles; they cannot pass a motorcycle unless from a separate lane. That being said, Nevada law allows for two motorcyclists — if they agree — to ride side-by-side in a single lane of traffic.

Protecting Nevada Bikers

Motorcyclists have to assertively act to protect themselves on Nevada’s roads and highways, including obeying all traffic rules as well as wearing mandatory safety gear approved by the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) regulations. Far too many times, however, motorcycle riders are hurt not because of their own unsafe practices but because of the negligence of other drivers. This includes distracted drivers, aggressive drivers, drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol, among others who are in larger passenger vehicles.

There are several things a motorcyclist can do to try to stay safe, including:

  • Slowing down: Although motorcycles are really built for speed, speeding only increases a rider’s chances of getting into a serious accident. No matter the circumstances, riding at a safe speed that is within posted limits and the rider’s capabilities is the best way to ride.

  • Riding sober: While it should go without mention, mixing drugs and/or alcohol with riding can have tragic results. Taking a stand against drinking and driving, especially in a place like Las Vegas where there are several places to stop along the way, is the best way to keep you and your loved ones safe.

  • Always wearing gear: Not only does protective gear potentially ave your life, it can increase visibility and make the ride more comfortable. Every rider and passenger should wear full protective gear before getting on a motorcycle and on the road. According to research, approximately 1,859 lives were saved in 2016 in the U.S. as a result of the use of motorcycle helmets.

Personal Injury Lawyers

At Parry & Pfau, our skilled Las Vegas personal injury attorneys can fight for the monetary compensation to which you are entitled if you or someone you know has been hurt in a Las Vegas motorcycle accident.

(image courtesy of Seth Macey)