Nashville Bicycle Accident Attorney
Motor vehicles kill hundreds of bicyclists every year in traffic accidents. In Tennessee, an average of six bicyclists die each year while on our sidewalks, bike paths, and roadways. Cars are deadly weapons, even if drivers don’t see them that way. Distracted or reckless driving can easily lead to a bicyclist being struck and critically injured or killed.
At Larry R. Williams, PLLC, in Nashville, we take great pride in upholding the rights of bicyclists in the middle Tennessee area. We’ve represented dozens of injured bicyclists and won the compensation they deserved. Trust our team to take care of your legal needs so you can focus on recovery.
The state of Tennessee recorded 435 bicycle accidents in 2017. Davidson County alone saw 89 bicycle accidents – the most out of any county except Shelby. Bicyclists are some of the road’s most vulnerable users. When motorists don’t pay attention to the road, drive distracted, or break traffic laws, bicyclists pay the price. The attorneys at Larry R. Williams, PLLC represent injured bicyclists in Nashville. We’ll help you fight for fair compensation. Contact us today for your free case evaluation.
Tennessee Bicycle Accident Laws
Bicyclists in Tennessee have certain rights and responsibilities. The law considers bikes vehicles. Therefore, they have a right to the road like other vehicles (except on highways). Other drivers must treat cyclists with respect while on the road, yielding the right-of-way when applicable and keeping a safe distance at all times. Driving too closely to a bicycle (within three feet) is against the law and can be dangerous for the cyclist. Cyclists must stay as far as possible to the right-hand side of the road, unless avoiding debris or making a left turn.
Bicyclists must use hand signals to show their intention to make turns. Cyclists can ride two abreast of one another, but cannot impede traffic, cannot ride next to a vehicle in the same lane, and cannot lane-split. Bicycles can ride on sidewalks, except in Nashville business districts. The state of Tennessee does not require helmet-wearing for bicyclists unless the rider is under the age of 16. Local ordinances may state differently, although Nashville follows the same rule as the universal law.
The Due Care Law in Tennessee describes the state’s distracted driving statute. It states that all drivers must devote their full time and attention while operating a motor vehicle, as well as maintain a safe speed and lookout at all times. Drivers with restricted licenses (such as learner’s permits) cannot operate a cellphone in any way while driving. Breaking the Due Care Law and causing a bicycle accident is an act of negligence that will likely result in the driver’s liability for damages.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bicycle Accident Claims
We receive a lot of questions from bicycle accident victims at Larry R. Williams, PLLC. We know this can be a difficult and confusing time for victims and their families. It’s our mission to educate citizens of Nashville about their rights and legal options, including the possibility of securing financial compensation from the at-fault party. The following are some of the most frequently asked questions we receive at our law firm:
- Do I have grounds for a lawsuit? If you can prove that a motorist or another party was negligent, and that this negligence was the proximate cause of the bicycle accident and related injuries/death, you have grounds for a lawsuit against the at-fault party.
- How long do I have before I must file a claim? You have one year from the date of your accident to file a civil claim against the at-fault driver in Tennessee. Missing this deadline generally means losing your right to compensation.
- Who is liable for my accident? The “liable,” or legally responsible, party for your accident will be the person or company that caused the wreck. This might be a driver, a bicycle manufacturer, the city that maintains the roadway, or the owner of a piece of property. More than one party could share fault for a bicycle accident.
In Tennessee, motorists are legally required to exercise due care when in the presence of cyclists, regardless of where the cyclist is riding. This includes opening car doors. If a bicyclist is hit with a car door and is thrown from their bicycle, it could lead to traumatic injuries of the head, face, chest, and more. If a motorist was negligent in their duties to look out for cyclists, it is within the cyclists’ rights to sue for liability.
Since motorists can cause such catastrophic damages to bike riders, they must abide by certain rules while maneuvering around cyclists on the road. Cyclists frustrate many drivers and ride dangerously close to them to scare them into getting off the road – even though bikers have every right to be there. Honking the horn too near a cyclist can startle him or her into falling into the road, causing injury or death. Motorists must respect bicycles as they would ordinary motor vehicles and leave ample room for them to maneuver.
Bicyclist Rights and Responsibilities
Since bicycles are recognized legally as a vehicle when on a public road, bike riders have the same rights and responsibilities as drivers of motor vehicles. They must ride with the flow of traffic, except to avoid obstacles such as parked cards or potholes. Bicyclists face many dangers on the roadway and must exercise due caution when biking in traffic.
Helmets are not legally required in cyclists over the age of 17. Failure to wear a helmet, regardless of age, is not admissible in a civil action for injuries caused by negligence of a third party. A jury cannot grant fault to the victim just because they weren’t wearing a helmet.
Despite being allowed legally on roadways alongside motor vehicles, many drivers don’t respect the law and tailgate bicyclists to get them off the road. These behaviors are extremely dangerous, and can result in a bike rider being run over if they fall off of a bicycle. Bicyclists should never assume that a driver is paying attention when they use crosswalks and should ensure that the vehicle comes to a complete stop before crossing. While these aren’t legal obligations, they are good tips for avoiding a bicycle accident.
Get Legal Help for Your Bicycle Accident Lawsuit
Bicycle accidents are generally severe in nature. Up to 47% of injured bicyclists suffer head injuries. Head injuries are responsible for 60% of all bicycle-related fatalities. The Tennessee law firm of Larry R. Williams, PLLC, has represented bicycle injury victims for over 35 years, and knows the devastating permanent injuries victims can sustain. We won’t let a negligent driver get away with reckless actions.
If you’ve been injured in a bicycle accident, contact Larry R. Williams, PLLC, as soon as possible. Our personal injury attorneys are experts at Tennessee bicycle law, and can immediately ease your worries about filing a claim. We’ll investigate the accident completely, taking photos, interviewing witnesses, and hiring a medical professional to document your injuries. From the moment you call us, we’ll work around the clock to help you in every way we can.