LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — According to a recent study by carinsurance.org, fatal bicycle accidents in the U.S. spiked by 25 percent since 2010, while Nevada’s numbers are trending down slightly. “It’s definitely plateaued, and is slowly starting to decrease,” said Andrew Bennett, the Public Information Officer for the Nevada Office of Traffic Safety.
Bennett says Nevada reported seven traffic fatalities involving bicycle riders in 2019, compared to eight in 2018, and nine in 2017.
However, Bennett says the overall number of accidents involving bicycle riders across Nevada is significantly higher. “I think we’ve had about 600 in the last three years,” said Bennett.
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To help bring those numbers down, traffic engineers and city planners are making a deliberate effort to design and build safety improvements.
A good example is along Main Street near Charleston Boulevard, where bicycle lanes are green.
Large signs have also been posted to let motorists know about certain streets where bicycle riders can use the entire lane, just like a car. There are also crosswalks with flashing lights to get the attention of motorists.
When those kinds of safety features are present, Bennett says bicycle riders and pedestrians are much more likely to use them. “It is something that we see when these municipalities go through this effort to make the street safer, people are more apt to use them, whether it’s cyclists or pedestrians.”
Bennett says law enforcement and the Office of Traffic Safety are also creating a safer environment for cyclists and pedestrians by targeting impaired drivers.
“There has been a perception that we haven’t focused on bicycle safety, and that couldn’t be further from the truth,” said Bennett, “because when we eliminate an impaired driver from the roadway, that saves everybody’s life. And we do believe that when we eliminate impairment, we can eliminate other forms of fatalities.