LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Advocates for bicyclists pushed back as legislation to keep them off highways was discussed on Wednesday.
Senate Bill 183, sponsored by Republican Senator Joseph Hardy would prohibit access for bicyclists, electric bicycles and electric scooters on roadways with speed limits at or above 65 mph. The bill would also outlaw the practice of riding more than two side-by-side on roadway shoulders.
Advocates said the legislation penalizes bicyclists rather than addressing the problem of impaired drivers. The proposal would take away cyclists’ access to 4,400 miles of roadway in the state following a December DUI crash that killed five cyclists.
“We appreciate Senator Hardy’s effort to protect cyclists in Nevada, especially after the Dec. 10 tragedy,” said Rob Hutchinson, Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition president. “We believe in education over restrictions. SNVBC will work with the senator and committee members to devise a plan to educate drivers on how to interact with cyclists on roadways and instituting better testing on the driver’s license exam and refresher courses.”
The Dec. 10 crash that killed five cyclists on U.S. Highway 95 between Boulder City and Searchlight has brought heightened attention to safety, particularly in light of increased bike sales during the pandemic.
“Rather than restricting cyclists, what Nevada needs to prevent another serious tragedy like the one on Dec. 10 is increased enforcement of distracted and DUI motorists,” says Pat Treichel, founder of Ghost Bikes Las Vegas.
“As we work to rebuild our state’s economy post-pandemic, Nevada’s outdoor recreation is more important than ever,” says Stephanie Forté, Nevada Outdoor Business Coalition. “While the bill is wrapped with good intentions, SB 183 negatively impacts cycling tourism by making it illegal to ride designated bicycle touring routes like U.S. Route 50, a thoroughfare for cyclists. It also dramatically decreases cycling opportunities for Nevada residents, which impacts our quality of life.”
Clark County Commissioner Justin Jones also said the bill does not address the real problem.