With summer’s sweltering temperatures coming to an end, more Tennessee bicyclists and runners will take to the streets. So, it is a good time for all of us to remember our respective rights and responsibilities on the roadway. In Part One, we will start with bicyclists and Part Two will cover pedestrians.
Under Tennessee law, every person riding a bicycle is granted the same rights as operators of motor vehicles. Of course, bicyclists also owe certain duties. For instance, bicycle operators and passengers under age 16 must wear a helmet. All bicyclists must obey traffic signs and signals and the bike must be equipped with a head lamp and rear reflectors if riding at night. In addition, if a bicyclist is traveling at less than the normal speed of traffic, the bicyclists should ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of roadway.
Conversely, motorists must respect the bicyclists right to be on the roadway and treat the bicyclist in the same manner it would another motor vehicle. This means using proper signals, passing only where it is permitted and when it can be done safely, not tailgating or following too closely, etc.
Impacts between motor vehicles and bicyclists rarely end well for the bicyclist. Obviously, there is no physical protection around the bicyclist to prevent injury except a helmet, and the bicyclist will be lucky is he or she escapes such an event with road rash or bumps and bruises.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, bicycle fatalities have been on the rise since 2010. As of October 16, 2013, 8 bicycle operators have lost their life on Tennessee roads in 2013. To reverse this trend and loss of life and physical well-being, motorists and bicyclists alike need to respect each other on the roadway and be alert for one another.
If you would like to learn more about bicycle accidents, follow the link. And, if you would like to discuss a bicycle accident with one of our experienced attorneys, please contact us online or call us any time at 615-742-4880 or toll-free at 866-812-8787 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. We only get paid if we win your bicycle accident case, so do not worry about adding legal bills to your list of monthly obligations.