Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.
Aldrich Law Firm, Ltd.

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Will a new law make pedestrian bridges safer?

People across the country and around the world think of Las Vegas as an “anything goes” kind of place. Anyone who’s had an encounter with Las Vegas police officers or casino security personnel knows differently. Many laws and rules are in place to keep people safe.

Because of the unique nature of our city and the large events held here, the city has a lot of inherent risks – especially around the Strip. In fact, because pedestrians were slowing down and even stopping traffic on some areas of the Strip (and endangering both those walking and driving), a series of pedestrian bridges were built to allow people to walk more safely and enjoy the sights.

The problem is that so many people were stopping to take pictures of themselves and others amid the sights of Las Vegas (including street performers) that they were causing pedestrian gridlock. That’s why at the beginning this year, a new law took effect in the city that prohibits “stopping, standing or engaging in an activity that causes another person to stop” on a pedestrian bridge or within 20 feet of any of the stairs, escalators and elevators that connect these bridges to the street or surrounding buildings. The penalties are a possible $1,000 fine or a six-month jail sentence. 

Why authorities say the law is necessary

According to Clark County officials, the law isn’t intended to stop people from taking pictures or discourage street performers. The pedestrian gridlock caused by people stopping for too long was causing security incidents, including fights and thefts. Clark County Sheriff Kevin McMahill said, “those chronic individuals up there that are preying on our tourists and our locals that are visiting the Strip (are) just not going to have a place to do it anymore.”

The law won’t be enforced until the county posts signs in areas where people shouldn’t stop or stand more than briefly. (Waiting for an elevator, the stairs or an escalator doesn’t count.) However, it’s already caused considerable controversy. 

Just because an area only allows foot traffic, that doesn’t mean pedestrians are necessarily safe. All kinds of things can happen, from being knocked down to being assaulted to being bitten by a dog. If you’ve suffered an injury, you may be able to hold the person or entity at fault liable for expenses and other damages. If you have questions, it’s wise to get legal guidance.

John P. Aldrich
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