An increased bicycling population and the emergence of bicycle routes across the city is helping Las Vegas transform into a bicyclist’s hub.
Unfortunately, bicyclists generally run a much greater risk of being seriously injured or killed in accidents than vehicle drivers do. Combined with a slower movement speed and a general lack of bicycle law enforcement, bicyclists in Las Vegas may find themselves injured or killed by unaware or negligent drivers.
Because bicyclists are often protected only by helmets, the risk of injury or death is nearly 3 to 10 times higher than that of motorists. At Cap & Kudler, we see a number of personal injury cases that involve bicycle accidents each year, and our team of expert bicycle law attorneys are available to help if you or a loved one has been seriously injured or killed while biking in Las Vegas.
Who is Responsible in a Bicycle Accident?
In bicycle accident cases, liability (or who is at fault in the accident) generally refers to who the negligent party is. The driver of a vehicle may be entirely liable if he or she crashes into a bicyclist by disobeying the rules of the road, or by driving while distracted. However, the bicyclist must also follow the rules of the road and the issue surrounding fault must be carefully examined.
Drivers can be negligent by speeding, failing to check their mirrors, failing to use turn signals or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other actions that constitute negligence on the driver’s part include:
- Texting while driving;
- Failing to pay due care while driving;
- Entering a highway from a private drive before checking for bicyclists;
- Driving in the bike lane; and
- Failing to obey traffic signals and stop signs.
Drivers have a responsibility toward bicyclists, just as they do toward other drivers. This means that they should be alert and use reasonable caution when driving around bicyclists and turning across bike lanes.
However, bicyclists also have a responsibility toward drivers and their own safety on the road. If a bicyclist turns unexpectedly, rides out into the middle of traffic, rides the wrong way down a one-way street, or runs through a stop sign, he or she may contribute to an avoidable accident.
In cases involving a bicycle-vehicle accident, the jury (or judge) will usually consider whether or not any recklessness or negligence on the driver’s part caused the collision, and whether or not the bicyclist contributed in any way through his or her own negligence.
How We Can Help—Proving Negligence in Bicycle Accident Claims
If you have been injured in a bicycle accident and wish to file a claim against a driver, our job is to prove the other party acted negligently in a way that resulted in your injury. We work to prove this most often through the use of eyewitness accounts, police reports, and photos of the damage.
In some cases, traffic violations can help us prove negligence. If, for example, the driver was speeding shortly before the accident occurred—or if the driver ran a red light—and evidence of this traffic violation exists, that evidence counts as proof of the driver’s negligence.
If this is the case, then the driver must prove that their negligent behavior did not cause your injuries. If the driver cannot prove this, then they may be responsible for compensating the cost of your medical bills related to injuries caused by the accident, as well as for pain and suffering damages and lost wages.
However, if a bicyclist contributes to an accident by being negligent in any way, you may be unable to recover money from the driver for damages. When a bicyclist’s negligence contributes to an accident, it is known as contributory negligence or comparative negligence. In this case, the bicyclist is at least partly responsible for his or her own injuries, and can even be held responsible, depending on the circumstances, for the driver’s injuries as well.
Nevada law follows a “Modified Comparative Fault” model in personal injury cases, meaning that the liability of the defendant (the driver) is reduced if the plaintiff (the bicyclist) is found to be negligent in any way. While this means that you will still be entitled to compensation for your injuries, you may not receive total recovery for damages if you are found to be at fault in any way. In addition, if the bicyclist is MORE at fault than the driver, then the bicyclist will not be allowed to obtain ANY compensation from the driver.
As we gather evidence for your case, we will work to ensure that all measures are taken in proving that a negligent driver was 100 percent responsible for your injuries. The financial, physical and emotional burden of sustaining a serious personal injury is more than enough to deal with on your own, so we are fully committed to working on the legal aspects on your case during this vulnerable time so that you can focus on what is most important—recovery.
Nevada Bicycle Accident Statistics
- Each year, over 800 cyclists die in traffic accidents.
- The total cost of injury and death suffered by bicyclists in the U.S. is over $4 billion each year.
- Per capita, Florida is the deadliest state for bicyclists. Nevada ranks as the 31st friendliest state for bicyclists with regards to education, policy enforcement and planning of bicyclist-friendly laws.
- Nearly 70 percent of fatal bicycle accidents occur in urban areas.
- Three out of five at-fault drivers in bicycle collisions are never cited.
Understanding the Law as a Bicyclist
The most important thing that bicyclists should understand is that they have similar rights and responsibilities as drivers do. As such, whatever action you would—or would not—take in a car should also apply while riding a bicycle.
Some important cycling laws to know include:
- Bicyclists cannot ride on a sidewalk in a business district;
- A white front light and red rear reflector are required for night riding;
- Functional brakes are required on every bicycle; and
- Drivers must leave a safe distance between themselves and cyclists and yield when appropriate.
In Nevada, there is currently no statewide law requiring the use of helmets while riding a bicycle, but the use of a helmet is strongly recommended by the Nevada DMV. We strongly recommend using a helmet while riding in order to minimize the risk of serious injury or death that may occur from an accident.
Contact an Experienced Las Vegas Bicycle Attorney
Regardless of your preferred method of transportation, your safety and wellbeing is our number one concern at Cap & Kudler. With decades of experience in personal injury law, we are confident that our team can help you recover while we represent you in court. If you or a loved one has been injured in a bicycle, contact us today to discuss your case and begin seeking compensation for your bicycle injuries.