What are the Most Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Tennessee?

Bicycle accidents often result in devastating injuries for those involved. The unfortunate reality is that bicycle riders do not have much protection from the force of a vehicle sliding into them. When a collision occurs, a bicyclist often sustains two impacts – one with a vehicle and another with the ground. Here, our injury attorneys in Nashville want to discuss some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents in Nashville and throughout Tennessee. Often, we find that these incidents are caused by the negligent actions of other drivers.

As we review some of the most common causes of bicycle accidents, it is important to understand that nearly every bicycle accident is preventable. Both bicyclists and drivers must take steps to maintain roadway safety. They have to be cognizant of one another and recognize that safety is a team effort.

 Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents in Tennessee

Driver Inattention

Drivers are notorious for not paying attention to bicyclists on the roadway around them. This is particularly true as distracted driving incidents continue to increase across the country. Data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) shows that around 30% of all bicycle accident injuries occur after a bicyclist is struck by a vehicle. Drivers can be distracted by cell phones or other devices as well as other people inside the vehicle. Other common causes of driver distraction include eating and drinking behind the wheel, adjusting the radio or GPS, or reaching for objects inside the vehicle.

Failing to Yield the Right of Way

Bicyclists have rights on the roadway just like other vehicles. In fact, Tennessee law typically regards bicycles as actual vehicles when it comes to following traffic laws and determining how others have to yield around them. Drivers often assume that they have the right of way no matter what when a bicyclist is around, but that is simply not the truth. If a driver fails to yield the right of way to a bicyclist, this could result in a collision that causes serious injuries.

Rider Inattention

Just like vehicle drivers, bicyclists can become distracted on the roadway. In fact, bicycle riders distracted by phones and other devices are becoming a leading cause of bicycle accidents. This includes bicyclists using their phones to track their overall workout, to listen to music, to take photographs, or even to live-stream while riding. Bicyclists must continue to pay attention to the roadway at all times and should stop and pull over if they need to use any type of technology.

Dangerous Road Conditions

Municipalities have responsibilities when it comes to ensuring the safety of their roadways, sidewalks, and dedicated bike lanes. These areas must be maintained and in good working condition. A significant number of bicycle accidents are caused by potholes, loose pavement or gravel, faulty traffic signals or crosswalk signals, and other issues that should be maintained by a state or municipal government.

Riding a Bicycle at Night

A significant portion of bicycle accidents occurs during the evening hours or at night. Bicyclists should wear reflective gear and ensure that there are reflectors and lights on their bicycles if they will be riding during the evening or nighttime. It is very difficult for drivers to see bicyclists who are wearing dark clothing and have no lights on their bikes.