Although it might be common sense to not drive on a sidewalk, there is a Nevada Revised Statue that tells you not to and provides certain exceptions.
We know a typical street in Nevada, whether it be in Las Vegas, Reno or anywhere in between, consists of various lanes and a shoulder area on each side. The shoulder may differ but in most highly populated areas, it consists of a sidewalk which is a concrete pathway that pedestrians, dog walkers, and bicyclists (at times) can use.
The concept of a sidewalk was conceived for safety purposes so it’s pretty obvious that drivers are not allowed to operate their vehicles on it. As the NRS states:
Except as otherwise provided in subsection 2, the driver of a vehicle shall not drive upon or within any sidewalk area except at a permanent or temporary driveway or alley entrance.
As with most of the statutes regarding the rules of the road in Nevada, there are exceptions.
What Are the Exceptions
Crossing a sidewalk to enter an alley is acceptable behavior for drivers.
Another exception and perhaps the most common one is when drivers ride their vehicle on a sidewalk when it is part of a driveway. The driveway could be a temporary one or a permanent one. Permanent driveways where cars may sometimes be seen driving on them are most often located in residential areas.
In housing areas, many people utilize their garages for storage and park their automobiles on the residential street. That can cause some tight areas. Residential streets are also pretty tight to begin with so if a driver needs to do a u-turn they oftentimes will have to utilize the sidewalk to navigate the turn. Sometimes drivers will drive on a sidewalk into a driveway so that they can change directions.
Other times when drivers get their tires on a sidewalk are when making other types of tight turns. It can often be seen when a car is in the left lane of a street and is making a U-turn. In many cases, those turns can be too tight for a car (especially a truck or SUV) to properly make the turn and they have to utilize the real estate of the sidewalk to complete the turn.
This is illegal and is in violation of the statute. As a matter of fact, unless part of a provision or exception, if a driver gets their tire on a sidewalk then they could be cited for a traffic ticket. If that occurs you will want to get assistance from a firm that knows how to handle these types of situations.
An egregious way to be in violation of this NRS is to drive on a sidewalk to avoid traffic or a traffic jam. Certainly, if a law enforcement officer witnesses an action like this you will be sure to get a ticket. Not only do you risk a citation for violating this Nevada statute but you can also cause damage by hitting something such as a bench or other piece of private property. Not only that, but a driver could run over a pet or even a person.
If any of these types of actions occur, a driver will likely face more than just a traffic ticket. Drivers conducting egregious acts such as this can be cited for reckless driving and or even be punished civilly if the damage is done or a person is injured. Aside from hefty fines, possible jail time, and other penalties, a driver’s license could also be suspended with points being posted against your record.
Ticket Busters can assist with any legal issue such as a traffic ticket or for reckless driving. If more significant accusations are thrown your way, you definitely want to seek legal help and we can assist.
Not necessarily considered an exception, the following provision involves other types of vehicles that are allowed to drive on a sidewalk in Nevada:
The provisions of subsection 1 do not apply to a vehicle that is powered solely by electricity and designed to travel on three wheels when such a vehicle is operated:
Certain three-wheeler vehicles are ok to drive on the sidewalk. This is most common to see in the rural areas of Nevada. Although a relatively large city, Pahrump is a very rural area where off-road-type vehicles can often be seen on city sidewalks. Many areas near Reno such as Fallon and Sparks may also have this spectacle. No doubt it is very common in the Great Basin region such as Tonopah and Ely.
In the bigger, more populated cities such as Reno, Carson City, Henderson, and of course Las Vegas, it is also quite popular to see vehicles on sidewalks in residential areas. In these locations though, the sightings aren’t of RZR’s and three-wheelers but are mostly electronic golf carts.
In many of the affluent golf course communities, not only are golf carts often seen but are actually encouraged to drive on the sidewalks. Many country club-type areas have “cart passes” that members must purchase to allow them access to drive on the sidewalks.
Specific golf course communities in Las Vegas where this is quite popular are Southern Highlands, Sun City, Spanish Trail and Canyon Gate Country Club (among numerous others). Aliante is located in the north side of Las Vegas just off 2-15 and Siena is also quite popular and can be found in the southwest part of Las Vegas. It is located fairly close to Bishop Gorman high school which was relocated to that area after many decades near Charleston and Maryland Parkway.
Can Emergency Vehicles Drive on the Sidewalk
One of the actual exceptions listed in NRS 484B.117 pertains to emergency vehicles. These types of vehicles are authorized to drive on the sidewalk per the statute.
An emergency vehicle can be any of the following: LVMPD motorcycle or squad car, ambulance, or Las Vegas fire department vehicle. This is a good exception for Nevada lawmakers to write into the policy because if there is an emergency then first responders need to get to the area as quickly as possible, even if it means driving on a sidewalk.
When there is an emergency, we often think of a life-threatening event such as a violent crime, medical episode or catastrophic event (car accident, fire, earthquake, etc..). However, emergencies can also be a power outage or public utility issue. So, if a Nevada Power vehicle is accessing the sidewalk for an electrical emergency they too would fall under the exception of this Nevada Revised Statute.
Security Guards and Law Enforcement Are Also Exempted from This NRS
Another exception for driving on a sidewalk is for security guards. The verbiage from the statute is as follows:
By a security guard, as that term is defined in NRS 648.016, in the course of his or her official duties.
In reviewing the other statute referenced (NRS 648.016); a “Security guard” is defined as someone who is employed as a watchman, guard, security consultant, patrol officer, or other types of vocations that are similar. Other similar jobs could be a private investigator, private patrol officer or authorized dog handlers.
The final exception within the statute is about law enforcement personnel:
By an officer or other authorized employee of a law enforcement agency, as that term is defined NRS 239C.065, in the course of his or her official duties; or
In previous provisions within this NRS, emergency vehicles were already addressed as being allowed to drive on a sidewalk. This specific provision spells out that authorized law enforcement personnel are also allowed to drive on a sidewalk if it is part of their work duties.
Many readers of this statute might think that this provision is redundant but it really is not. The previous provision spoke of emergency vehicles whereas this one references law enforcement officers.
Not all law enforcement officers drive marked vehicles. For instance, there are many plain-clothed detectives at Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department that drive civilian vehicles. At first glance, a passerby or witness might see a driver dressed in civilian clothing driving a normal vehicle with no police markings driving on a sidewalk and think for sure that there is a violation of NRS 484B.117 but it may not necessarily be the case.
If you are in need of assistance regarding any type of traffic violation let us know here at Ticket Busters. We have a large office full of legal professionals that are versed in all types of Nevada law. Specifically, if you are caught driving on a sidewalk we can help you with your traffic citation. We’ll interview you for the details and if needed investigate further to lessen your penalties and fines.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are Segways allowed on sidewalks in Las Vegas?
Yes, Segways are allowed on sidewalks in Las Vegas. However, they must be operated with caution and you must yield the right of way to other pedestrians. The Nevada Revised Statutes do not explicitly mention Segways but similar electric personal transportation devices are subject to the same rules as bicycles when used on sidewalks.
Can I ride my bike on a sidewalk in Nevada?
Yes, you can ride your bike on the sidewalk in Nevada as long as you follow all applicable laws. Generally, this means that you must ride at a speed that is reasonable for the circumstances and adhere to any posted signs or rules on the sidewalk. Additionally, when approaching pedestrian areas or intersections, you should always dismount your bicycle and walk it through.
Can I be fined for driving on the sidewalk?
Yes, you can be fined for driving on the sidewalk in Nevada. According to NRS 484B.117, it is illegal to drive any vehicle on a sidewalk unless it is an emergency vehicle operated by emergency personnel, a security guard in the course of his or her official duties, or an officer or other authorized employee of a law enforcement agency. Violation of this statute can result in fines and/or other criminal penalties.