There are more bicycle accidents in Reno — therefore injuries and fatalities — than there should be based on its population. Nevada’s bicycle accident statistics suggest that cyclists in Reno are much more likely to have a bike accident than those in the rest of the state.
But Reno compares favorably to other cities across the U.S. of similar size. According to the League of American Bicyclists, the city of Reno and the University of Nevada, Reno both earn a bronze award for bike friendliness.
Here is an overview of bicycle safety in Reno and some tips for successfully navigating the city on two wheels.
Reno Bicycle Accident Statistics
Nevada releases traffic accident statistics in its annual Crash Facts report. It also provides a crash map on its NDOT Crash Data website. All of the following statistics come from these two sources.
According to the NDOT Crash Data website, Reno had 422 bicycle crashes in one recent five-year period. This means the city averaged just over 84 bike crashes per year.
The Crash Facts report shows that most of Reno’s bicycle accidents happen in the afternoon and evening. Over 57% of Reno’s bicycle accidents happen between 3 p.m. and midnight.
The most dangerous time of the week for bicyclists is the weekend. Half of the bike accidents in Reno happened on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.
The months with the most bicycle accidents are June and October. Over 27% of Reno bicycle accidents happen in just those two months.
Furthermore, cyclists involved in accidents are overwhelmingly male. Only 8% of cyclists in Reno bicycle accidents were female.
Reno Bicycle Injuries and Fatalities
According to the NDOT Crash Data website, bicycle crashes in Reno caused 392 injuries and five deaths in the five-year period. This means 94.1% of Reno bicycle accidents caused injury or death over this period.
Statistically speaking, if you get hit by a car while riding your bike in Reno, you have only a 5.9% chance of walking away without an injury.
The injury accidents in Reno caused:
- 30 incapacitating injuries where a cyclist required an ambulance
- 214 minor injuries where an injury was visible but the cyclist didn’t require an ambulance
- 148 suspected injuries where the cyclist had no visible injury but complained of pain, dizziness, confusion, or other symptoms
Nevada’s bicycle accident statistics don’t track how many of the injured cyclists were wearing helmets. However, studies show that wearing a helmet substantially reduces the odds of suffering a fatal or non-fatal head injury in a bike crash.
How Reno Bicycle Accidents Happen
Reno bicycle accidents happen for many reasons. Four of Reno’s five fatal bike accidents resulted from cyclist behaviors.
Two fatal accidents happened when bicyclists crossed the road outside a marked intersection or crosswalk. The two others happened when bicyclists failed to yield to cars that had the right-of-way. One fatality and five injuries resulted when intoxicated drivers ran into bicyclists.
Of the 422 bike accidents that caused injury or death, the accident reports used to create the NDOT Crash Data website blamed automobile drivers for 213 of them. Put differently, car and truck drivers were at least partially at fault for 50.4% of bicycle crashes.
The most common driver behaviors leading to bicycle collisions include:
- Failure to yield the right-of-way, which caused about 23% of bike collisions
- Speeding, distracted driving, or red light running, which caused about 5% of bike crashes
Reno has an alarming rate of hit-and-run bicycle collisions. Over 11% of bicycle crashes in Reno involved hit-and-run drivers. These accidents injured 45 bicyclists between 2016 and 2020, according to the NDOT Crash Data website.
Where Reno Bicycle Accidents Happen
Bicycle accidents in Reno tend to cluster on roads between intersections. The Crash Facts report shows that 44% of bike crashes in Reno occurred on roads or road shoulders away from intersections. Another 12% occurred while cyclists were in bike lanes.
Only 27% of Reno bike accidents happened at intersections. About one-third of these accidents happened while cyclists were in marked crosswalks.
Some of the most dangerous roads and intersections for bicyclists include:
Fourth Street has seen 16 injury accidents in the past five years. Most of these happened west of Evans Avenue in downtown Reno.
Kietzke Lane also had 19 bike accidents since 2016. Two of these happened at the intersection of Mill Street and Kietzke Lane.
US-395/Virginia Street is probably the most dangerous road in Reno for bicyclists. This road had 28 bike accidents in the past five years, according to the NDOT Crash Data website, injuring 25 bicyclists.
The most dangerous intersection on US-395/Virginia Street was probably Grove Street. This intersection saw three injury accidents between 2016 and 2019.
Moana Lane and Lakeside Drive
This intersection has had four accidents since 2016. These caused three injuries and one death, making this the most dangerous intersection in Reno for cyclists.
Arlington Avenue was one of the roads with the greatest density of bicycle accidents. This road had eight bike accidents along the 0.7-mile stretch between Fourth Street and California Avenue.
Navigating Reno Safely on a Bike
Many of the most dangerous roads in Reno provide access to Reno’s attractions. Arlington Avenue, for example, takes riders to the bike trails along the Truckee River Walk and Wingfield Park.
Yet Arlington Avenue only had three intersections around the Truckee River without a bike accident. Seven other intersections on Arlington Avenue had at least one bike accident.
Likewise, many of the major roads running through downtown Reno and the tourist attractions in the area have multiple bicycle accidents. Roads like Second Street, Fourth Street, and Virginia Street are some of the riskiest in Reno for bicyclists.
Since many of the roads you might want to bike in Reno are also some of the most dangerous, you can reduce your chance of getting into a bike accident by riding defensively. Over half of bike accidents in Reno were blamed on careless, intoxicated, or distracted drivers.
Stay as far right as possible and watch for improperly passing cars. Anticipate that drivers will not yield at intersections and crosswalks. Watch for cars turning across your path or into your path. And always wear a bike helmet. Following these simple but vital tips can help you ride safely in Reno.
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