The pamphlet is called How to Not Get Hit By a Car: Important Lessons on Bicycle Safety—and if I could, I would put one in the hands of every driver and cyclist in the Valley. A publication of the Nevada Bicycle Coalition, Not Get Hit is packed with piece after piece of two-wheeled common sense: Make eye contact with drivers; don’t ride against traffic and so on. (The information is also at BicycleSafe.com.) So much pain and suffering could be avoided if people simply internalized this stuff—and I’d be able to ride Vegas’ streets without this sense of creeping terror.
The Nevada Bicycle Coalition is looking forward to that terror-free day, too. The Washoe County-based advocacy group is dedicated to promoting safer cycling in Nevada “through better laws, better facilities, better law enforcement and educating bicyclists and motorists on the safest ways to share the road,” says Terry McAfee, the coalition’s president and founder. “Much of our work is about educating state legislators and encouraging them to promote policies that are bicycle-friendly.”
So far, much of the coalition’s efforts have been dedicated to promoting a state law known as the “three-foot rule,” which says motorists must give cyclists three feet of clearance when passing. (We’re lucky to have such a rule; only 20 other states have similar laws. Even California doesn’t have one.) The coalition has also been instrumental in getting several other Nevada laws changed to help cyclists—most of them related to making safe turns. And it’s currently working to ensure that federal transportation funds include improvements for cyclists as well as pedestrians.
Now the Bicycle Coalition is looking to increase its Southern Nevada membership, and I’m considering joining up just on the strength of this yellow pamphlet and the events of this afternoon, when I was all but shaved by a panel van as I rode down Maryland Parkway. It’s going to take a lot of cyclists to kick the tires and light the fires, and luckily, Las Vegas has a lot of cyclists. They just have to begin calling legislators, emailing the RTC and caring about Not Getting Hit.
“The bigger both in membership and geography we are,” McAfee says, “the more influence we will have.”