Tennessee Bicycle Laws and Safety Tips

There are plenty of people in Tennessee who enjoy riding bicycles. Bicycles provide great tools for recreational exercise, and they are also used by many individuals as their regular mode of transportation from place to place.

However, bicyclists often sustained severe injuries when they are involved in collisions with passenger vehicles. Here, we want to discuss Tennessee bicycle laws as well as various safety tips for bicyclists in the area.

Laws for bicyclists in Tennessee

When we turn to the Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security, we can see that there were 394 total reported bicycle accidents during the latest reporting year across the state. Out of these incidents, 344 were injury incidents and seven were fatal incidents. This data clearly indicates that bicyclists face significant risks in the event an accident occurs.

It is important for both bicyclists and vehicle drivers to understand that a bicyclist generally has the same rights on the roadway the drivers of vehicles do. Vehicle drivers must respect these rights. Tennessee law is very clear that a bicycle is considered a legal vehicle on the roadway.

Bicyclists will have the full rights and responsibilities on the roadway and are subject to the same regulations that govern the operation of other vehicles.

Tennessee law also requires that bicyclists:

  • Right on the right-hand side of the road in the same direction as traffic
  • Obey all traffic signs and signals
  • Use hand signals to communicate intended movements
  • Equip their bicycles with front white lights that are visible from 500 feet
  • Equip their bicycles with either a red reflector or a lamp emitting a red light that is visible from a distance of at least 500 feet

Some safety tips for bicyclists in Tennessee

In Tennessee, bicycle operators are only required to wear a helmet if they are under 16 years of age. However, it is strongly recommended that all cyclists, regardless of age, wear a helmet when they are riding. The number one safety tip for bicyclists is to wear a helmet, but this is often the most violated safety tip.

Some other ways that bicyclists can remain safe when they are riding include the following:

  • Keep the bicycle well maintained, to include regular tire pressure checks, brake checks, and light checks.
  • Use lights when cycling before sunrise or after the sunset.
  • Always use hand signals to communicate direction changes.
  • Wear high visibility clothing, whether riding during the day or night.
  • Always travel in the direction of traffic and stay in the right-hand lane.
  • Avoid lane splitting (the practice of driving down a white or yellow line between vehicles).

Bicyclists who are involved in collisions with passenger vehicles often sustain severe injuries. This can include broken and dislocated bones, traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, severe lacerations or amputations, and more.

Any bicyclist who has been injured due to the careless or negligent actions of another party should seek assistance from a bicycle accident attorney as soon as possible to help secure the compensation they are entitled to. This could include coverage of medical bills, lost wages, household out-of-pocket expenses, pain and suffering damages, and more.