There are more than 70,000 motorcycles registered in the State of Nevada. That’s one for every 42 people in the state. It’s important for motorcyclists and all drivers to know the rules of the road.
One of the top questions people have about motorcyclists on the road is lane splitting. Is lane splitting legal in Nevada?
Let’s talk about lane splitting and lane sharing in the State of Nevada.
(Source: WorldAtlas, The Number of Motorcycles by State)
Is It Legal to Split Lanes in Nevada?
Lane splitting is illegal in the State of Nevada. A motorcyclist may not weave in and out of traffic to pass vehicles within a lane. A motorcyclist must use a full, vacant lane to pass another vehicle.
What is the law prohibiting lane splitting in Nevada?
Nevada Revised Statutes § 486.351 prohibits unlawful passing, including lane splitting. The law says that a person may not drive a motorcycle between moving or stationary vehicles in adjacent traffic lanes. It also says that a person may not overtake or pass another vehicle in the same traffic lane except when specified.
Are there any exceptions to N.R.S. § 486.351 prohibiting lane splitting?
A police officer performing their duties may engage in lane splitting when operating a motorcycle.
Lane Splitting vs. Lane Sharing
To understand why lane splitting is illegal in Nevada, you must understand the difference between lane splitting and lane sharing.
Lane splitting — weaving in and out of lanes of traffic
Lane splitting occurs when a motorcyclist passes other vehicles without using a full lane. They cut in and around traffic. Lane splitting is tempting when vehicles are stuck at a light or in a traffic jam. Because of the bike’s smaller size, the motorcyclist can maneuver around other vehicles in the same lane.
Lane splitting can occur when vehicles are standing or when they are moving. It occurs anytime a motorcyclist passes other vehicles within existing traffic lanes without having their own lane.
Lane sharing – two or more motorcyclists sharing a single lane
Both motorcyclists travel in the same direction in one lane. Usually, a single lane is used by a car, truck, or other vehicle. However, because of their smaller size, two motorcyclists may ride side-by-side in a single lane.
Is Motorcycle Lane Sharing Legal in Nevada?
Motorcycle lane sharing is legal in Nevada. Two motorcyclists may ride side-by-side in a single lane in the same direction of travel.
Does a motorcyclist have the right to their own lane in Nevada?
A motorcyclist has the right to use a complete traffic lane. Another vehicle may not insist on sharing a lane with the motorcyclist.
Even another motorcyclist cannot insist on sharing a lane with a motorcyclist.
Can you pass on the shoulder instead?
Usually not. While it might seem tempting to pass on the right if lane splitting is illegal, that too is prohibited by Nevada law. N.R.S. § 484B.207 requires overtaking vehicles to pass on the left.
There are limited exceptions listed in N.R.S. § 484B.210. These exceptions require the shoulder to be wide enough for the passing vehicle, and the passing vehicle may travel no more than 200 feet on the shoulder. The shoulder used for passing may not be part of an intersection or highway access. In most cases where a motorcyclist may want to weave through and around traffic, the circumstances will not meet the exceptions listed in N.R.S. § 484B.210.
Lane Splitting and Motorcycle Accidents
If a motorcycle accident involves lane splitting, the question of liability hinges on two things:
- Was lane splitting legal or illegal in the state where the accident occurred?
- Did anyone act negligently in any way to contribute to the accident occurring?
In Nevada, lane splitting is illegal. Therefore, a motorcyclist who causes a crash in part by lane splitting is likely negligent.
Even if the motorcyclist is at fault for lane splitting, it’s important to investigate the accident’s causes. Nevada uses a system of modified comparative negligence. Even if one party is at fault for the accident, another party may be at fault, too.
To determine who must pay compensation and what they’re responsible for paying, the parties must thoroughly investigate all the causes of the accident and the fault that may be apportioned to each party.
Lane Splitting and Motorcycle Accident Attorneys in Nevada
If you’re in a motorcycle accident, fault can be hard to determine. Our attorneys help accident victims. We can investigate lane splitting, fault for the accident, and how to get you the compensation you deserve. It’s our goal to investigate all the causes of your accident and fight for your rights.