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Bicyclists fear for safety on Las Vegas roads | News

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Bicyclists fear for safety on Las Vegas roads

LAS VEGAS -- Only six weeks into 2015 and police say almost two people are dying on local roads per week. Some are pedestrians, while others are bicyclists.

The majestic beauty of the Las Vegas desert and miles of open road beckons thousands of people looking to take a recreational bike ride. However, cars and cyclists must share the roads as they both plan to carefully navigate into the Red Rock scenic loop and back.

Greg Fasano, a cyclist for 15 years, says while mechanical failures make up a portion of bicycle accidents, the biggest concern lies with motorists.

"Every component has a safety aspect to it, whether it be the pedals, the brakes, the wheels, and things ought to be inspected at every ride", he says. “Motor vehicles are probably the biggest danger to a cyclist."

Fasano has had -- not one but two -- brushes with death. He collided head on with a vehicle and escaped with minor injuries in his first accident. He says his second accident, years ago, should have killed him and he credits his helmet and the way he landed on the pavement for sparing his life.

“I was cut up pretty bad, no broken bones, it was one of those things where I kind of got up, and I said, wow, what is this all about? I was extremely lucky.”

A bicycle is no match for a car. The car is heavier and travels 45 mph or faster while cyclists chug along at less than half that speed.

Fasano says cyclists follow all the rules of the road, stopping at red lights and staying as far to the right of the road as possible. Even when all the rules are followed, cars still pose a great threat to vulnerable cyclists, yet he says there are a few things bike riders should do.

“You want to ride defensively, but you want to be predictable. You want to take the initiative when you have to, because if you don't, if you are tentative in certain situations, you're not being predictable,” he says. “I'll point right at them and I'll make sure they see me, and let them know that I'm looking at them.”

Drivers who failed to yield the right of way, speeding or failed to maintain their lane accounted for a higher percentage of deaths on Las Vegas valley roads.

Erin Breen of UNLV's Vulnerable Road User Project says responsibility between drivers and bike riders goes both ways. She says drivers have to pay attention and cyclists have to ride predictably.

State law also requires drivers to give bikes three feet of space.