Tennessee Bicycle Laws
At a time when people are looking for ways to save on gas money and do their part to protect the environment, many are turning to bicycling as a solution. Some use bicycles for pleasure or exercise, while others are counting on them for their daily commutes. If you live in a city, you probably have noticed the increased popularity of bicycles.
Safety is an important topic when it comes to bicycle riders who use roadways or bike paths to get around. In many cases, they have to contend with traffic signs, pedestrians, and other vehicles while on the move. For bikers, there are rules to follow according to Tennessee bicycle laws that are different from someone operating a motor vehicle or just walking.
Important Tennessee Bicycle Laws to Know
When you take your bicycle out for a spin, you need to be aware of certain standards and precautions that you must follow under Tennessee law. Failing to abide by these regulations could result in a fine, being charged with a class C misdemeanor, or even injuries in the event of an accident.
Under Tennessee law, A bicycle is defined as a human-powered vehicle with two or three wheels designed to transport a person sitting on the frame.
Tennessee Bicycle Helmet Laws
One of the most important regulations is regarding the use of a bicycle helmet. The law states that any bicycle operator under the age of 16 must be wearing a protective bicycle helmet that is a good fit, fastened securely, and remains in place while riding. This includes child passengers and young riders.
Wearing a Protective bicycle helmet
Choosing to wear a helmet can protect you from common bicycle injuries, the most severe of which often happen to a person’s head. The bike helmet law is designed to protect young riders who may be more prone to collisions or falling than their adult counterparts.
Even though it is not illegal for adults to not wear a bike helmet, they are still important to use so that you are safe while riding the bicycle. Protective bicycle helmets can be purchased at most sporting goods stores, so invest in your safety and wear a bicycle helmet.
Tennessee Child Passenger Laws
For child passengers, Tennessee has additional regulations for bicycle operators. For any child under 40 pounds or 40 inches tall, they must be seated in a child restraining seat. This child safety seat will help keep them still and buckled in, ensuring that the rider can maintain control of the bicycle. You also have the option to use a bicycle trailer for your child passenger.
Passenger Seat Installation
To get a bicycle trailer or child safety seat attached, visit a bicycle store that can help you make sure this equipment is installed correctly. The fire department can also check that the seat is securely attached to the bicycle.
Tennessee Bicycle Laws on Roadways
When a biker is in certain locations, such as cities or towns, there are certain restrictions on how they should ride. Bikers are subject to the same Tennessee traffic laws as other motor vehicles and therefore have the same rights. This means that sidewalk riding is not allowed. Additionally, a bike rider must follow the same direction of traffic as a car does.
If there is a bike lane, they must occupy that space unless making a turn. A bicycle lane is exclusively for bikers, so they should be clear of other motor vehicles and pedestrians for your use. These rules of the road must be followed by all riders in city or town environments, especially in high-traffic areas like business districts.
Sharing the road
When there are no bike lanes and the rider must occupy the street itself, they are required to stay as far right as possible and not occupy the entire lane. this means staying close to the curb or the right side of the lane at all times unless they are making a right-hand turn. That way, other cars can get safely past them.
Bicycle riders are required to indicate their turning direction using hand signals to inform other drivers around them of their intentions. For a left turn, raise your left arm in the air and point to the left. For a right turn, do the same on your right side, or raise your left arm straight up into the air.
Traffic lights are often equipped with vehicle detection devices to know when to change. They may not be able to pick up on a bicycle depending on its size. In this case, you must come to a complete stop before cautiously proceeding into the intersection to prevent a car crash. The same is true of intersections with stop signs.
Tennessee Bicycle Equipment Laws
To ride your bike legally on roadways, there are a few equipment regulations to follow as well. You must have a front white light visible to motorists at night, as well as a red rear reflector or red light on the back. Your brakes must be able to stop the bike within a safe distance of twenty-five feet. Underage bikers are required to wear a helmet in all circumstances. If your bike has an electric motor, there are laws against making certain modifications to the equipment.
Accidents Involving Bicycle Operators
Whether you are a rider, pedestrian, or motor vehicle driver involved in an accident with a biker, many factors will come into play in a legal proceeding or injury claim. Were local ordinances being followed by the rider involved? Did they break any bike laws that caused the accident? Were they occupying a traffic lane when they were not supposed to? did serious injuries occur? Were they riding on a highway, street, or sidewalk? Did they ignore traffic signals or travel above the maximum speed limit according to Tennessee law?
All of these questions could come into play after a bicycle accident results in personal injury.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer
At Mitch Grissim & Associates, we have worked with many clients who were involved in accidents with bicycles, either as riders, pedestrians, or drivers. When reckless endangerment occurs and causes the collision, victims may have the right to pursue compensation for damages.
Call Our Office
Call our legal team today at 615-255-9999 for a free consultation about your bicycle accident case. We will advise you on the best way forward and whether or not your claim could be successful.