Chapter 486 of the Nevada Revised Statutes pertains to motorcycles and similar vehicles. One might wonder what a similar vehicle might be and fortunately, the lawmakers in Nevada have not only figured that out but also defined them with their own statute.
NRS 486.038 defines what a “moped” is. A moped is a scooter that is operated with a motor or another similar type of vehicle that is run by a small engine. This engine cannot have more than two horsepower or 1500 watts of final output. A moped could also be a cycle assuming the other attributes listed above are met.
Those in Carson City were very specific to state that a tractor is not considered a moped; however, to be considered a moped, the vehicle must not have more than three wheels that are in contact with the ground at any given time. There is also a defined description of how fast a moped can go. A moped must not be able to travel at more than thirty miles per hour on a normal surface with a typical grade.
Another example of a “similar vehicle” to a motorcycle is a trimobile. This is specifically explained in NRS 486.057. One of these types of vehicles must have handlebars and a saddle seat.
Although this description may sound like a motorcycle with a sidecar, the statute is specific to state that it is not a similar vehicle.
As one might guess based on the name, a trimobile must be a three-wheeled vehicle where all tires are in contact with the ground while traveling. It is also necessary for at least one of these wheels to be power-driven.
Now that we have the definition of a similar vehicle to a motorcycle, we can now dig into some of the laws in Nevada that pertain to motorcycles and these other types of vehicles.
In this article, we will be focusing on Nevada Revised Statues in chapter 486 from 241 – 311.
If you are ever ticketed for violating a traffic law in Nevada while operating a vehicle or similar type of vehicle you should reach out to Ticket Busters for help.
Our office has helped thousands upon thousands of people in the southern Nevada area with all types of traffic issues. Whether your issue is large or small you can call, email or stop on by and we will assign a legal professional to move your case in the right direction.
NRS 486.241 Protective Headgear and Glasses: Sale or Distribution
This NRS is a different one because it really does not pertain to the actual driving of a motorcycle or similar vehicle. This statute states that it is prohibited to sell, offer or even distribute various things for drivers or passengers of these types of vehicles.
Prohibited items include protective headgear, goggles, glasses and face shields. It is ok to offer these items up for free or for a price if they meet the standards adopted by the Department of Transportation. Face shields are also an item that must meet the criteria in order for them to be legally available to passengers or drivers.
NRS 486.251 Use of Head Lamps and Stop Lights Required
By law, in Nevada, any moped or motorcycle must have stop lights installed on their vehicle. This is obvious for standard automobiles but is specifically listed for the alternative types in the NRS.
Smaller-sized vehicles like these can be difficult to identify on Nevada highways. This is especially true when there are changes in atmospheric conditions that cause haze, fog, and other weather conditions.
Even on a nice clear day (as many of the days are in southern Nevada), a smaller-sized vehicle like a moped can be hard to see at distances of 1,000 feet. A distance like this can be closed in a hurry when cars are driving at over sixty miles per hour. Because of this, NRS 486.251 also states that a motorcycle must have its headlight operating thirty minutes after sunset to thirty minutes before sunrise.
Once out of the Las Vegas area, things can get pretty desolate. Without a lot of man-made lights in the middle of the desert, the skies can be very dark.
As a matter of fact, parts of central Nevada (near Tonopah or outside of Ely at Great Basin National Park) have some of the darkest skies in the world. That is a great attribute for astronomy buffs and star gazers but it is a scary proposition for anyone driving at night, especially without sufficient lights.
This is very true for those smaller sized vehicles like a motorcycle, trimobile or moped. Not only is it bad for those operators for other cars on the roadway as well. So, whether you are in the middle of the Nevada desert or within the bright lights of Las Vegas be sure to have your headlights on in the dark.
NRS 486.261 Tail Lamps
This Nevada Revised Statute strictly deals with tail lamps and lists out three specific items.
The first one pertains to where the tail lamp must be mounted on the motorcycle. By that verbiage, it also means that there must be at least one tail lamp found on each vehicle. If law enforcement officers inspect the moped, trimobile or motorcycle then that tail lamp must be found in the rear.
It must also be lighted to show red. This light must have the magnifying power to be clearly seen from at least five hundred feet away. The tail lamp must also have the same wiring as the headlamp. What this means is that anytime the headlamp is lit, the tail lamp must also be lit.
Lastly, for a motorcycle, the tail lamp must also have a blue insert. This insert by law is not to exceed one inch in diameter.
NRS 486.271 Turn Signals
It should not be a shock for readers that a motorcycle must have electric turn signal lamps installed. These are used to alert other drivers that a turn is going to be made. This NRS however does allow for vehicles manufactured prior to January 1st in 1973 to be exempt from the rule.
The lamps for the turn signals must be installed on the front and rear.
When in operation (as a driver is about to turn) the lamps must show a flashing light in the direction that the oncoming turn is going to be made. So if the driver is making a left-hand turn then the lighted lamp would be shown on the left-hand side as well.
The statute is also very detailed in describing the color of the lighted lamp when a turn is being made. The color must be white or as the NRS reads, “amber light”. It also states that any shade between amber and white would be acceptable.
The lighting on the lamps located in the rear is to show a red or amber light. Similar to the ones in front, there is an acceptable color range and the rear lamps can be any shade from amber to red. All lamps must be spaced out as laterally as is practicable.
NRS 486.291 Reflectors
Nevada lawmakers wrote about turn signals so it is no surprise that they also wrote about reflectors too.
A reflector must be mounted on all motorcycles or mopeds. The location of the mount must be no less than twenty inches and no greater than sixty inches from the ground.
When measuring, one must do so from the center of the actual reflector to the ground. If the vehicle has a load on it then that load would push the vehicle closer to the ground so when measuring one should do so without a load.
The reflectors must be visible at night for a distance of three hundred feet when there are headlamps shining on them. It is imperative that the visibility is from that distance so the size and shape of the reflector need to be taken into consideration.
NRS 486.301 Brakes
To no surprise of anyone, a moped or motorcycle in Nevada must have braking technology. Brakes must be adequately equipped to fully stop and control the vehicle.
NRS 486.311 Mirrors
This statute specifically states that all motorcycle-type vehicles must have two mirrors with a reflective surface. The surface must be no smaller than three inches in diameter. They also need to be installed so that the driver can view the Nevada roadway for 200 feet.
All of the Nevada Revised Statues are written to where there is no ambiguity. This is especially true for Chapter 486 that pertains to motorcycles and other similar types of vehicles.
The statutes are very specific and detailed so it can be easy to find yourself in violation of one. If you are ever cited for breaking one of these statues then reach out to Ticket Busters.
Even if your ticket is for a nonmoving violation we can still assist. So if a police officer gives you any type of ticket while riding your motorcycle, moped or trimobile in Nevada let us know so that we can help.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are helmets required in Nevada?
Yes, riders and passengers on any motorcycle must wear a DOT-approved helmet at all times when riding.
Do I need to install a turn signal on my motorcycle?
Yes, all vehicles manufactured after January 1st 1973 must have turn signals installed. Vehicles manufactured before this date are exempt from the rule. The lamps for the turn signals must be located in both the front and rear of the vehicle and show a flashing light when turning left or right. The color of the light must be white or amber and any shade between these two colors is acceptable.
Are reflectors required on motorcycles?
Yes, any motorcycle or moped driven in Nevada must have a reflector mounted to the rear of the vehicle. This reflector should be no less than 20 inches and no greater than 60 inches from the ground and should be visible for a distance of 300 feet when headlights are shined on it.
Do I need to install mirrors?
Yes, all motorcycles must have two mirrors with reflective surfaces installed that measure at least three inches in diameter. These mirrors must be placed so that the driver can view the Nevada roadway for 200 feet. All lamps must be spaced out as laterally as is practicable.