There’s nothing like the wind in your hair and the freedom you feel when you’re on a motorcycle. It’s the short time in the day when all your cares disappear, and nothing exists but you and the bike beneath you.
As long as everything goes smoothly, riding a motorcycle can be an efficient way to get around in big cities like Vegas. But if you’re not taking the proper safety precautions, your carefree drive can turn into a nightmare.
Before you take your bike out for a spin in Nevada, make sure you’re aware of the rules. This checklist will keep you and others safe on the road and help you avoid traffic tickets while you’re in Sin City.
1. Make Sure Your Bike Meets the Standard Requirements
If your vehicle has a seat or a saddle and has two or three wheels, it’s a motorcycle, according to Nevada law. The only exclusions are electric bicycles, tractors, and mopeds.
To meet the safety requirements of the state, all motorcycles must:
- Have a high enough seat that both your feet can’t touch the ground at the same time
- Have wheels protected by fenders and handlebars that aren’t more than six inches above your seated shoulders
- Include headlamps 24 to 54 inches above ground with a color temperature from 5,000 to 6,000 kelvins, to be used in bad weather and from sunset to sunrise
- Include stoplights and a brake light with a red light that is visible from 500 feet away
- Use electric front and rear turn signals with a color range of white to amber in front, and amber to red in the rear
- Have a rear reflector installed at 20 to 60 inches above ground, visible from 300 feet, and two rear view mirrors at least three inches long per handlebar
These requirements often come as the standard equipment on bikes newer than 1973. You’ll also need working brakes and a muffler, as well as a horn.
Nevada doesn’t have a curfew law, but your bike has to comply with the exhaust and noise ordinances in Vegas.
2. Wear a Helmet
Even if it messes up your hair, you’ll have to wear a helmet on the streets of Vegas. Not just any helmet, either. Nevada has some strict requirements for this law.
If you’re on a bike, you must wear a helmet fastened securely to your head. To complete the look, be sure to add the legally required protective eyewear if your motorcycle doesn’t have a transparent windscreen already.
Helmets have to meet the Nevada Department of Transportation standards. Yours must weigh at least three pounds and have an inner liner consisting of one-inch thick or greater firm polystyrene foam.
Chin straps must have rivets, and anything on the outside of the helmet can’t extend past two-tenths of an inch over the surface. The manufacturer’s label, model, year, and materials must be on the helmet.
These rules might sound a little over-the-top to you, but motorcycle crashes in Vegas continue to be a problem every year. The safety equipment laws help reduce severe injuries and fatalities in the city.
3. Don’t Forget Your Passenger Safety
Planning on taking someone for a ride? Better check out these safety requirements first.
In Nevada, passengers aren’t allowed on bikes unless the vehicle was already designed for two riders. The passenger must have their own set of footrests and ride behind the driver with their own footrests, in an attached sidecar, or in an installed second seat.
Your passenger will also need their own helmet, which must meet the above safety regulations, as well.
Citations in Vegas aren’t cheap, either. In fact, helmet violations and other traffic-related penalties may be more than double the fees in the rest of the state.
Motorcycle crashes can be devastating, and Sin City is full of pedestrians who aren’t always paying attention. Tourists make up much of the city’s population at any given time, which is why the laws and penalties in Vegas may seem exceedingly strict.
Still, you should be fine on the busy streets as long as you’re following these three main safety requirements. Drive like your life and others on the road matter—because they do.