For anyone who has been on Las Vegas Boulevard (also known as the Las Vegas Strip) in years past, they will probably remember seeing many tourists walking across the street at will with not much regard for the traffic signals and pedestrian crosswalks. Pedestrian injuries and violations decreased significantly when many of the bridges were built that allowed those on foot to safely cross Las Vegas Boulevard.
There have also been metal barriers installed off of sidewalks that deter people from crossing the streets except at designated locations. The barrier’s main purpose was to protect those walking on the sidewalks from getting hit by cars but deterring jaywalkers has been a major byproduct.
Decriminalization of some of the laws pertaining to jaywalking has also occurred recently.
Even still, it can be a common occurrence to still see Las Vegas Metropolitan Police on the Strip issuing jaywalking tickets to tourists and locals alike.
Whether it is due to the excitement of all of the lights or due to being a little buzzed off of alcohol, many people still ignore the “Do Not Walk” sign which is extremely dangerous due to the high traffic and congested areas but is also a violation that can earn you a ticket.
People that get ticketed can become angry at law enforcement but these laws are designed by politicians in Carson City, NV, and were designed to keep people safe.
The Clark County School District Police also emphasize pedestrian safety and will enforce laws to protect children and others in school districts and beyond. Although probably known for helping people with traffic tickets, Ticket Busters can help you if you are issued a ticket as a pedestrian. Conveniently located in downtown Las Vegas, our office can be easily reached in person or by a simple telephone call or text message.
Nevada Law for Walking Along Highways
The enforceable laws that we have been discussing that cover pedestrians who walk in roadways and obstruct traffic are covered under Nevada Revised Statute 484B.297.
The title of this NRS is:
NRS 484B.297 Walking along and upon highways; solicitation of ride, business or contribution from driver or occupant of vehicle prohibited in certain circumstances; intoxicated pedestrian prohibited within traveled portion of highway; applicability to riders of animals; penalty.
Six subpoints make up this statute with the first one being:
1. Where sidewalks are provided, it is unlawful for any pedestrian to walk along and upon an adjacent highway.
Basically, what this means is that if there is a sidewalk, then a pedestrian must use it.
We will discuss those situations where a sidewalk is not present a little later but a person can be ticketed for not using a sidewalk.
The sidewalks were built for a reason using taxpayer money so it is reasonable to think that they should be utilized. It really makes things safe for walkers as opposed to them walking along the street which not only puts them in a perilous spot but also impacts the drivers. No one wants to ever hit someone and certainly, nobody ever wants to get hit by a car which could cause massive injury or even death.
Additional Guidance When There’s No Sidewalk Present
The second subpoint discusses the situation where a sidewalk is not present:
2. Pedestrians walking along highways where sidewalks are not provided shall walk on the left side of those highways facing the approaching traffic.
As it states, when there is not a sidewalk available, someone walking must do so along the left side of the roadway.
Stating “left side” seems a bit confusing but it really just translates to being on the side that faces the oncoming cars.
That makes a lot of sense because it makes things a bit safer by having the person at least know what is coming at him. It is easy for someone walking to accidentally veer off a little when they are not looking at the traffic and cars behind them. That can make for a disastrous situation where they could be hit by a car or could force a car to swerve which could cause a car crash.
Hitchhiking Not Allowed
The third subpoint references a couple of other statues but really just pertains to what most would call a “hitchhiker”:
3. A person shall not stand in a highway to solicit a ride or any business from the driver or any occupant of a vehicle. A person shall not, without a permit issued pursuant to NRS 244.3555 or 268.423, solicit any contribution from the driver or any occupant of a vehicle.
Hitchhiking is not as common these days as it once was in America’s past but if you ever find yourself in that situation of needing a ride this part of the NRS explains what not to do. You cannot look for that ride while standing in a roadway. So, if you are in need of catching a ride from a stranger be sure to put your thumb up while standing on a sidewalk.
The same goes if you are soliciting a business in any way. If you are spinning a sign while advertising for a business, be sure to stand on the sidewalk and not perform that act while having your feet on the actual road.
Much of this is common sense but when in the heat of the moment (looking for a ride or advertising for a business) it can be quite easy to take a step or two off the sidewalk. Those quick moves though can generate a ticket for you if witnessed by a police officer.
Impaired Pedestrians Not Allowed on the Road
Number four reads:
4. It is unlawful for any pedestrian who is under the influence of intoxicating liquors or any narcotic or stupefying drug to be within the traveled portion of any highway.
While there are certain circumstances when a person can be on an actual street, some people are just not allowed. Those people would be the ones who are drunk or high on drugs.
When in a state like that, decision-making is not as sharp as when someone is sober and that can bring in different situations with all of them being dangerous.
If a law enforcement officer sees someone under the influence of any kind and in a street or roadway they can issue a ticket. Certain actions like slurred speech or not being able to keep your balance could be a giveaway that someone is under the influence. If that is the case then a sobriety test could be issued by law enforcement to determine the state of the individual.
This can be a pretty common occurrence on the Las Vegas Strip where alcohol and now marijuana sales are ubiquitous. If given a ticket for violation of NRS 484B.297 you should reach out to Ticket Busters as soon as possible.
Same Rules Apply to People Riding Animals
Although many people will not think of Las Vegas being a “country western” location, that is certainly its roots and because of that many people like to ride horses. The next point emphasizes that those riding animals must adhere to the same rules within this statute as pedestrians.
There are many equestrian trails located throughout the Las Vegas Valley with some of the most popular ones being in northwest Las Vegas, especially near the Lone Mountain area which is located near the 2-15 beltway and Alexander Rd.
5. The provisions of this section apply to riders of animals, except that the provisions of subsections 1, 2 and 3 do not apply to a peace officer who rides an animal while performing his or her duties as a peace officer.
Penalties for Violating NRS 484B.297
Lastly, the final point discusses what the penalty is for violating NRS 484B.297.
6. A person who violates the provisions of this section is guilty of a misdemeanor.
In 2021 the legislature in Nevada worked to decriminalize jaywalking and passed some new legislation in July of that year. That recent law had the following verbiage:
“Any pedestrian who commits a violation by crossing a highway, which constitutes any road for vehicles available for public use, at a place that is not marked as a crosswalk may be punished with a civil penalty of up to $100.”
Although being ticketed for this is still a disruption for most people it is quite a change from the ‘old’ rules where a jaywalking ticket could incur a fine all the way to $1,000 and a possibility of spending six months in jail.
The northern part of the state including the cities of Reno, South Lake Tahoe, Gardnerville and Incline Village have other aspects to their regions that can push people off of sidewalks and into streets and that is their weather…most specifically snow. Fortunately, here in southern Nevada we really do not have to worry about that.
Although it does snow on occasion, it usually does not stick to the ground. Regardless of the reason if you ever receive a traffic ticket or one for violating a pedestrian law here in Nevada please contact us at Ticket Busters for immediate assistance.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I walk on a highway?
Yes, but only when there are no sidewalks provided. Additionally, if you are even in this situation, Nevada law explicitly says you must walk on the side facing the oncoming traffic.
Can I cross the street when there are no pedestrian crossings?
No. You must use a crosswalk, or you may be ticketed for violating NRS 484B.297.
What is the penalty for jaywalking?
As of 2021, a civil penalty of up to $100 may be imposed on any pedestrian who commits a violation by crossing a highway at a place that is not marked as a crosswalk. This is much less than the previous law which could incur a fine all the way to $1,000 and a possibility of spending six months in jail.
Do I need an attorney if I’m ticketed for violating NRS 484B.297?
It is not required to have an attorney when it comes to violations of NRS 484B.297, but having one can be beneficial in order to make the process easier and less stressful. If you are ever ticketed for violating a pedestrian law here in Nevada, please contact Ticket Busters for immediate assistance. We have experienced attorneys who specialize in defending traffic tickets, and they will be able to provide you with the best advice possible.