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Bicycle Fatalities Are Up In Nevada

Nevada Department of Transportation

The Nevada Department of Transportation reports a 60 percent spike in the number bicycle fatalities compared to the same time last year.

There have been eight bicycle fatalities in Nevada so far this year. As of August 2014, there were only five: Three in Washoe County and one in Clark and Lyon Counties respectively. Every fatality thus far in 2015 has occurred in Clark. That’s a 700% increase for that area. NDOT spokeswoman Meg Ragonese says it’s difficult to pinpoint what’s happening but…

“…the overall message is both riders and drivers need to be cognizant of sharing the road.”

According to Nevada law, when approaching a bicyclist, drivers must change lanes if it is safe to do so.  And if it isn’t, the driver must provide at least three feet of space between them and the rider. Bill Story is NDOT’s bicycle coordinator and an avid cyclist. He says it’s important to exercise due care.

“Passing a cyclist at let’s say 35 mph at say three feet is in a small car is very different than passing them in a commercial vehicle. 70 miles an hour out in the middle of Highway 50 in the middle of Nevada at three feet is probably too close.”

Story says there are a lot of variations to the so-called three foot law as drivers travel from state to state. Nationwide 26 states and the District of Columbia have some form of this law on the books.  

Esther Ciammachilli is a former part-time broadcaster at KUNR Public Radio.