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Las Vegas motorists should remember ‘3 feet rule’ of road

With the start of National Bike Month on Tuesday, a local cycling advocacy group wants to remind motorists about the so-called “three feet rule.”

Enacted by the state Legislature in 2011, the law requires drivers to leave at least 3 feet of space on the road when passing a bicyclist, or to move into an adjacent left lane whenever one is available.

First-time violators can be charged with a misdemeanor with fines up to $275 and a possible license suspension.

“We see a lot of violations for this rule, but it’s difficult to get cited unless you have someone right there measuring the distance,” said Keely Brooks, president of the Southern Nevada Bicycle Coalition.

“We try to be clear that it’s the responsibility of both drivers and bicyclists to know the rules of the road,” Brooks said. “Cyclists need to ride conservatively, plan out their routes and know which roads have sufficient space and bicycle lanes.”

Las Vegas ranks third out of 32 metropolitan cities nationwide for bicyclist fatalities per 1 million people, according to the National Highway Transportation Administration.

Through all of 2017, nine bicyclists were killed statewide, seven in Clark County.

Preliminary state data shows that five bicyclists have died in Nevada so far this year, including three in the Las Vegas Valley.

“We are ahead from the same time as last year,” Brooks said. “We want zero collisions and zero fatalities through the rest of the year.”

To stay safe, Brooks suggested that bicyclists ride with the flow of traffic, wear bright-colored clothes and a helmet and obey the basic childhood rule of looking both ways before crossing the street.

“Don’t assume motorists can see you just because you have the right of way,” Brooks said. “Do everything you can to be noticed because motorists aren’t always trained to look out for cyclists.”

Cactus improvements

Jim from Las Vegas wanted to know whether Clark County officials plan to widen a 6½-mile stretch of Cactus Road between Rainbow Boulevard and Spencer Street in the south valley.

County spokesman Dan Kulin said there are a few improvement projects slated for Cactus — but don’t expect them all to start at the same time.

By the end of the year, crews are expected to start improving Cactus between Spencer and Las Vegas Boulevard, Kulin said. Work could start as soon as summer 2019 on a section of Cactus between Verona Wood Street and Valley View Boulevard.

And, Kulin said that a new traffic signal was installed last fall at Cactus and Valley View.

Lights out

Joe from Las Vegas said the tall mast freeway lights have gone out at Rancho Drive and U.S. Highway 95, and no longer illuminate this bustling freeway interchange near the Santa Fe Casino in the northwest valley.

“There must be six of these lights that have not been working for four months and it makes the area very dark,” Joe said, adding that he’s received some conflicting information from the Nevada Department of Transportation.

It turns out the long-term outage was the result of an electrical short that was repaired a few weeks ago, NDOT spokesman Tony Illia said.

Ominous signs

Brian from North Las Vegas said he noticed a pair of “ominous but vague electronic signs” warning of roadwork that started April 14 along Craig Road between Jones Boulevard and Valley Drive.

It appears Southwest Gas is completing some nighttime construction on Craig between Jones and North Fifth Street for a gas line replacement project, said Delen Goldberg, a spokeswoman for the city of North Las Vegas. The project is expected to take several months to complete.

Signal stalled

Vera from Henderson said the wide intersection at Galleria Drive and Water Street “desperately” needs a traffic signal.

“We have been told that Cadence will install one when its development is built out, which is in another 10 years,” Vera said.

Unfortunately, it isn’t clear when a traffic signal is coming to this intersection. Henderson city spokeswoman Kathleen Richards confirmed that improvement designs are completed, but “the Cadence master developer is responsible for the construction, and the city doesn’t have details on the timing.”

Questions and comments should be sent to roadwarrior@reviewjournal.com. Please include your phone number. Follow @RJroadwarrior on Twitter.

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