It is well known that motorcycles and provide little protection to riders,
and come with their own set of rules that must be followed. This article
address some of the specific laws in Nevada that address the use of motorcycles
and similar vehicles. It must be emphasized that these laws differ from
state to state. Consequently, in the context of accident injury claims,
it is imperative that an experienced attorney be involved.
Before we can discuss the laws, it is important to define certain terms
that will be repeated throughout this article.
Moped: A motor-driven scooter, cycle, or similar vehicle, propelled by a small
engine producing not more than two (2) horsepower. Mopeds must travel
on less than three (3) wheels and have a top speed of thirty (30) miles
per hour or less.
Trimobile: A vehicle designed to travel with three (3) wheels on the ground, with
at least one of those wheels being power driven. A trimobile does not
include a motorcycle with a sidecar.
Motorcycle: Every motor vehicle equipped with a seat or saddle for the driver to use
and designed to travel on three (3) or less wheels excluding an electric
bicycle, tractor, or moped.
Highway: The entire width between the boundary lines of every way maintained by
public authority open to public use for the purpose of vehicular traffic.
A highway is not simply the interstate/freeway, it is any public road.
Mandatory Use of Helmets and Eye Protection:
According to the
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 4,668 individuals were killed on motorcycles in 2013. In Nevada
alone, this number totaled fifty-five (55). Of those fifty-five (55),
forty-eight (48) were wearing a helmet.
Because of the risks involved in driving a motorcycle, Nevada has mandated
use of helmets and eye protection within its borders. Any motorcycle being
driven on a highway requires the driver and passenger to wear protective
headgear and protective glasses, goggles, or face shields.
Exemptions to Helmet and Eye Protection:
There are three (3) exceptions which allow for individuals to avoid the
state’s requirement of helmets and eye protection. Drivers and passengers
of a motorcycle being driven in a parade authorized by a local authority
are not required to wear protective eyewear or helmets.
Drivers and passengers of three-wheeled enclosed cab motorcycles are not
required to wear a helmet or eyewear.
Finally, if a motorcycle or trimobile is equipped with a transparent windscreen,
a driver is not required to wear glasses, goggles, or face shields.
NRS 486.231(3). A transparent windscreen does not allow you to avoid riding with a helmet.
Lane Splitting and Lane Sharing:
Lane splitting is the act of driving one’s vehicle between lanes
of slow moving or stopped traffic. In Nevada, no person, except a police
officer in the performance of his/her duty, is allowed to drive a motorcycle
or moped between moving or stationary vehicles occupying adjacent traffic
lanes. NRS 846.351(1)
Lane sharing occurs when a vehicle in traffic allows other traffic to “share”
the lane, commonly seen in group motorcycling. In Nevada, motorcycles
and mopeds may, with the consent of the drivers, operate by side-by-side
in a single lane of traffic.
NRS 486.351(3). You may not ride more than two (2) motorcycles/mopeds in this side-by-side fashion.
Lane sharing also occurs in a more dangerous form, including individuals
passing slower moving traffic in the same traffic lane. In Nevada, unless
you are riding side-by-side as outlined above, you may not pass an individual
in the same traffic lane.
Riding with Another Person:
A motorcycle or moped is not allowed to be driven on a highway if it is
carrying more than one (1) person, unless the vehicle is designed for
NRS 486.181. All passengers are required to stay in their designated seats, whether
directly behind the driver, in a rear seat, or attached sidecar.
Mandatory Motorcycle Equipment:
In addition to the use of a helmet and eye protection, motorcycles and
mopeds must be equipped with the following:
Head Lamps. NRS 486.281.
Stop Lights. NRS 486.251(2).
Fenders On both Wheels. NRS 486.221.
Rear Tail Lights. NRS 486.261.
Turn Signals (Excepting manufactured before 1973). NRS 486.271(2).
Rear Reflectors. NRS 486.291(1-2).
Brakes. NRS 486.301.
Mirrors. NRS 486.311.
Accidents and Your Right to Recovery:
Motorcycle accidents happen, and they can lead to disastrous consequences. Even with strict
adherence to the rules outlined above, you may find yourself in an accident
through no fault of your own. Please keep in mind, however, that Nevada
adheres to the doctrine of Contributory Negligence, meaning that your
liability, if any, is spread out in proportion to your fault. One caveat
to this rule is that if your fault is greater than that of the defendant’s,
you will not be entitled to recovery of damages.NRS 41.141(1).
Liability and fault in a motorcycle/moped accident can come from multiple
sources, not just the individuals involved in the accident. If you or
someone you know have been involved in a motorcycle or moped accident,
Las Vegas Accident Attorney from Shook & Stone.
Our firm has been working for the injured since 1997 and can work for you so that
you get the maximum financial compensation for your accident. It is important to
contact legal counsel as soon as possible to avoid undue delay. With more than twenty years of experience, you can trust that we will
maximize your recovery.