Nevada Bicycle Helmet Laws

Nevada bicycle helmet laws do not require cyclists to wear helmets. But moped drivers and motorcyclists do or risk getting a traffic ticket.

Not wearing a helmet increases the odds of head injuries if the rider gets into an accident. And when bike crash victims sue, the court might reduce their financial recovery if they wore no helmet.

In this article, our Las Vegas personal injury attorneys discuss Nevada bicycle helmet laws:

biker about to hit a car
Cyclists are not required to wear helmets in Nevada.

1. Nevada bicycle helmet laws for non-electric bikes

Cyclists are not required to wear a helmet in Nevada. However, wearing a helmet is highly recommended to prevent serious injuries.

State lawmakers recently tried to require helmets for children cyclists, but the bill never passed the Nevada Legislature.1

Learn more about Nevada bicycle laws. Also see our article on how to file a Nevada bike accident lawsuit in Nevada.

2. Nevada electric bicycle helmet laws

Helmets are not required in Nevada to ride electric bikes.

Electric bikes have the following three features:

  1. Two to three wheels;
  2. A small electric engine which produces a maximum of one (1) gross brake horsepower and produces no more than 750 watts final output; and
  3. A maximum speed of 20 miles per hour on a flat surface with a 170-pound rider2

Learn more about motorized bike laws in Nevada.

3. Nevada moped helmet laws

Starting October 1, 2019, moped drivers are required to wear helmets on Nevada roadways.3

Mopeds are motor-driven scooters, cycles, or similar devices. They are propelled by a small engine that meets either of the following three standards:

  1. Produces no more than two (2) gross brake horsepower; or
  2. Has a displacement of no more than 50 cubic centimeters; or
  3. Produces no more than 1,500 watts final output

Mopeds have a maximum speed of 30 miles per hour on a flat surface with no more than a one percent (1%) grade in any direction.4

Acceptable moped helmets must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Weigh three (3) pounds at least;
  2. Have a minimum one (1)-inch thick layer of firm polystyrene foam for an inner liner;
  3. Have chin straps with rivets;
  4. Have no external pieces that extend more than two-tenths of an inch from the helmet's exterior;
  5. Are labeled with the manufacturer's name, model type, year, and materials; and
  6. Are imprinted with DOT in the back to certify compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards.5

If the moped has no transparent windscreen, the driver must also wear goggles, glasses, or face shields.6

Moped drivers who neglect to wear a helmet can be pulled over and cited for a traffic ticket. In addition, the Nevada DMV can add two (2) Nevada demerit points to their driver's license.7

motorcyclist
Helmets are required for motorcyclists in Nevada.

4. Nevada motorcycle helmet laws

Motorcyclists are required to wear helmets on Nevada roadways. Motorcycles are any motor-driven devices with two or three wheels and that can exceed 30 miles per hour.

Acceptable motorcycle helmets must meet all of the following requirements:

  1. Weigh three (3) pounds at least;
  2. Have a minimum one (1)-inch thick layer of firm polystyrene foam for an inner liner;
  3. Have chin straps with rivets;
  4. Have no external pieces that extend more than two-tenths of an inch from the helmet's exterior;
  5. Are labeled with the manufacturer's name, model type, year, and materials; and
  6. Are imprinted with DOT in the back to certify compliance with the Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards.8

If the motorcycle has no transparent windscreen, the biker must also wear goggles, glasses, or face shields.9

Motorcycle drivers who neglect to wear a helmet can be pulled over and cited for a traffic ticket for violating Nevada motorcycle helmet laws (NRS 486.231). In addition, the Nevada DMV can add two (2) Nevada demerit points to their driver's license.10

Learn more about motorcycle safety laws in Nevada. Also see our article about filing motorcycle accident lawsuits in Nevada.

5. Is it negligence in Nevada not to wear a bicycle helmet?

Not wearing a helmet while riding a bike or electric bike is legal in Nevada. But if the biker gets in an accident and sues for negligence, not wearing a helmet might hurt the plaintiff's case.

The defendant may try to argue that the biker's injuries would not have been as bad had he/she been wearing a helmet. If the case goes to trial, the court might find that the biker was "contributorily negligent" by not wearing a helmet. Then the court may reduce the amount of money damages the biker is entitled to.

Courts will probably be even tougher on injured motorcyclists and moped drivers who failed to wear helmets. After all, motorcyclists and moped drivers are required by law to wear helmets. So they were breaking the law by not wearing a helmet when the accident happened.

Bikers and cyclists who get into accidents may still be entitled to money damages as long as they were no more than 50% at fault. But their financial payout will be reduced in proportion to their blame. Learn more about Nevada modified comparative negligence laws.11

6. Bike accident injuries and statistics

Bicyclists are always vulnerable to harm since much of their body is exposed. But not wearing a helmet increases the odds of critical injury.

Bikers who do not wear helmets are more prone to traumatic brain injuries in Nevada and spinal injuries in Nevada. These injuries can permanently affect the biker's quality of life and mental health.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, wearing a bicycle helmet shrinks the odds of head injury by half. It also decreases the odds of face or neck injury by 33%.

In recent years, 83% of bicyclists who died in an accident were not wearing helmets.12

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Legal References

  1. Nevada Assembly Bill 187 (2019); see Nevada DMV bike safety flyer.
  2. NRS 484B.017.
  3. Nevada Senate Bill 408 (2019).
  4. NRS 486.038.
  5. Federal Motor Vehicles Safety Standards No. 218 (49 CFR Sec. 571.218); see Nevada DMV Motorcycle Operator Manual; NV Attorney Genera Opinion No. 2002-41("Helmets that comply with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration standards can be identified through examination of the mandatory stickers and the construction of the helmet. Furthermore, as more fully explained above, the best way to differentiate between a helmet that complies and one that does not is the presence, or absence, of the material used to attenuate impact in the event of a crash, including a chinstrap. However, the Office of the Attorney General recommends that a change be made to the current statutes through a graduated system of fines and education of the motorcycle riding public, which would also serve to make enforcement easier. These changes will provide the motorcycle riding public with incentives to ensure that they purchase helmets that conform to the safety standards set forth in Nevada and Federal law.").
  6. NRS 486.231.
  7. Nevada DMV Violation Codes.
  8. DOT (Nevada Department of Transportation) and NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration).
  9. NRS 486.231.
  10. Nevada DMV Violation Codes.
  11. NRS 41.141.
  12. IIHS Fatality Facts: Bicycles - 2014.

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