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Recent statistics show bicycle deaths on Nevada roads have remained about steady over the last few years. They’re about 2 to 3 percent of all traffic-related deaths.
This, even as Nevada’s growth rate is 6th highest in the nation.
But is that really because our roads are safer, or is it because people who might ride a bike think it’s too dangerous to do so on our streets?
Bike safety is on our minds as May is Bike Safety Month.
Erin Breen is the coordinator for the Traffic Safety Coalition at UNLV. She said one of the most important things to understand when it comes to bike safety is that bicyclists are entitled to use the road.
They must follow the same rules as cars, including stopping at red lights and driving on the correct side of the street.
She also said that motorists need to give cyclists a three-foot distance, and if possible, motorists need to move over a lane.
However, bicyclists need to use the bicycle lane when available, move as far to the right as they can, stay off the sidewalks, and get off their bicycles and walk them across crosswalks.
Breen said it is important for everyone using the roads to slow down and be more cautious.
"Give yourself enough time to reasonably get where you're going and quit being in such a hurry no matter what kind of road user you are," she said.
Las Vegas Metro Police Deputy Chief Andy Walsh agreed. He said traffic fatalities need to be addressed by motorists and cyclists.
"There's two sides to this issue and it's the motorists and the bicyclists that have to really work together if we're going to have an impact on this," he said.
Walsh said the aftermath of traffic accidents are horrific scenes and the mental anguish of the family members is also horrific to see.
Dr. Clarence Dunagan has seen the impact of that trauma first hand. He's the emergency room director at Mountain View Hospital. While his hospital is not a trauma center, they still get patients with injuries from traffic accidents.
"If a 4,000-pound car hits somebody, especially somebody who is not wearing a helmet, they can have devastating injuries," he said.
NDOT - Bicycle Rules of the Road
DMV - Quick Safety Tips
Andy Walsh, deputy chief, Las Vegas Metro Police; Erin Breen, coordinator, Traffic Safety Coalition at UNLV; Dr. Clarence Dunagan, Emergency Room director, Mountain View Hospital
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