When you think of some of the best places to ride your bicycle, the hot sands of the Nevada desert are not likely to top your list. In fact, People for Bikes ranked Las Vegas as the seventh-best city in Nevada for bicycling and the 1,051st-best city for biking out of 1,733 total cities.

These subpar scores are a testament to the dangers and challenges that bicyclists in Las Vegas face. While the city’s sunshine and abundance of sidewalks can be inviting for those looking to get around town, those who choose to do so should ride with full awareness of the risks of injury and death they face. It is crucial to ride with this knowledge to avoid the often devastating bicycle accidents in our community.

Fatal Bicycle Accidents in Las Vegas

The Nevada Department of Transportation (NDOT) publishes a Traffic Safety Crash Facts sheet with information about bicycle fatalities throughout the state. According to this data, between 2015 and 2019, a total of 41 bicyclists lost their lives in bicycle accidents. The most fatal accidents in a single year were 10 in 2015. There were a total of 16 fatalities in 2018 and 2019.

This number means that bicyclist deaths represented 2.6% of all traffic fatalities that happened throughout Nevada during this time period.

Clark County Has the Largest Number of Fatalities

When examining NDOT’s statistics, Clark County quickly emerges as the county with the vast majority of bicycle fatalities. Between 2015 and 2019, 34 of the 41 fatal bicycle wrecks happened in Clark County. Washoe County had the next-highest number of bicycle fatalities, with six, followed by Nye County, with one fatality. No other Nevada county had a bicycle fatality.

Locations of Bicycle Crashes Within Las Vegas

The Nevada Department of Transportation also maintains an interactive Crash Data map that includes bicycle injury and fatality crash data from 2016 to 2020.

According to this map, some of the streets in Las Vegas with the greatest number of bicycle accidents of all severity types include:

  • South Las Vegas Boulevard
  • State Highway 150
  • North Eastern Avenue
  • East Washington Avenue

NDOT’s map also revealed a number of bicycle wrecks in and around the downtown Las Vegas area, including the streets between South Las Vegas Boulevard and South Main Street.

Urban Versus Rural Bicycle Accidents in Las Vegas

Of the state’s 41 fatal bicycle accidents, 39 happened in urban areas such as Las Vegas. Only two crashes resulting in death occurred in rural areas. Although a bicycle crash can happen anywhere, especially where a bicyclist encounters a motor vehicle, one is much more likely to occur in a city environment than in the countryside.

Approximately 44% of fatal wrecks happened on roadways, and another 17 percent occurred at intersections. The large number of urban fatalities can also be explained by the fact that Nevada’s rural areas are sparsely populated. Individuals living in these areas have little use for a bicycle as a means of transportation.

Ages of Las Vegas Bicycle Fatality Victims

Riders aged 51 to 55 years old made up the largest share of people killed in bicycle accidents. Nine people in this age group, or 22% of all victims, were killed between 2015 and 2019.

The age groups with the next-highest number of deaths included riders between the ages of 41 and 45 and those riders aged 51 to 65. Each of these age groups experienced four deaths. Between 2015 and 2019, only two children under the age of 16 years were killed in bicycle accidents.

When Do Most Fatal Las Vegas Bike Wrecks Occur?

According to NDOT’s statistics, the vast majority of fatal bicycle wrecks happened between 3:00 p.m. and 8:59 p.m. During this period, a total of 17 fatal bicycle crashes occurred. The remainder were spread evenly between 6:00 a.m. and 2:59 p.m. and again from 9:00 p.m. to 11:59 p.m. The 3:00 a.m. to 5:59 a.m. period was the least likely time for a fatal crash.

The majority of fatalities occurred during daylight lighting conditions. Only three crashes happened at night when no artificial lighting conditions were present.

Friday, Sunday, and Monday were the days of the week when the most bicycle fatalities occurred. Together, these three days accounted for half of all fatal crashes. Wednesday and Saturday only saw four fatal accidents each between 2015 and 2019.

Fatal bike wrecks happened throughout the year in Nevada, with the most occurring in October and the fewest in July. From 2015 to 2019, there were six fatal crashes in October and only one in July. Five happened in June, and four occurred in each of the months of January, February, April, May, and September.

Bicycle Safety Laws in Nevada

Nevada bicyclists must adhere to the same rules of the road as other vehicles. This includes following all traffic signals, signs, and right-of-way laws. When riding your bike on the roadway, you are required to ride as close to the right of the road as possible while still maintaining at least three feet of distance between yourself and parked vehicles.

Two bicyclists are permitted to share a single lane of travel if they can do so safely. Any cars or trucks that are seeking to overtake bicyclists on the road must give the bicyclists at least three feet of clearance.

Nevada does not require bicyclists to wear a helmet when riding. Even so, riders of all ages should wear a properly fitted helmet, as doing so can help prevent death and traumatic brain injuries in the event of a crash.

Bicycling Safely in Las Vegas, Nevada

Riding a bike safely around Las Vegas begins with rider awareness. While fatal wrecks are few and far between in Sin City and throughout Nevada, those that do happen tend to involve older riders traveling along roadways away from intersections.

Following traffic laws, wearing a helmet, and always watching for other traffic can help keep you and your loved ones safe while biking in Las Vegas.