Cycling in and around Nashville is a popular pastime, and the city has specific rules in place to keep cyclists safe. Throughout Tennessee, bicycles are allowed on many roadways, subject to certain conditions.

Nashville Bike Rules for Motorists

As a motorist, you can help make cycling safer by driving at a reasonable speed and being observant. Under Tennessee state law, bicyclists are drivers of vehicles, which means that they have the same rights as other vehicles on Nashville roads. When passing a cyclist on the road, remember to:

  • Maintain a safe distance. Allow at least three feet when passing if the speed limit is greater than 40 mph.
  • Don't overcrowd the lane. Allow cyclists to ride as far to the left of the lane as possible, so they can avoid roadside hazards such as debris and storm drains.
  • Be patient before passing. If the lane is too narrow for you to safely drive past a cyclist, you must allow the cyclist to use the whole lane and wait behind until you have a safe chance to pass.

Nashville Bike Rules for Cyclists

As a cyclist, the most important part of biking safely is how you ride. It’s important to follow the rules of the road and maintain maximum visibility at all times. You should also remember the following rules:

  • Stop and yield. Before you enter a road from a sidewalk or driveway, you must give way to the cross traffic. Always stop at stop signs and red traffic lights.
  • Maintain a safe distance. You should ride as close to the right as is safe for you, to enable motorists to pass.
  • Be predictable. Always ride in a straight line, so motorists know where you are going. Move left carefully if the lane is too narrow for you to share with another vehicle. This will prevent motorists from misjudging passing space.
  • Ride with traffic. Never ride facing oncoming vehicles. This will increase your risk of a collision.
  • Always signal. Use arm signals to indicate when you are about to turn or merge. Give other drivers plenty of warning before you maneuver.
  • Always wear a helmet. Wearing a helmet can protect you from serious head injuries in the event of an accident.
  • Use your lights. Always use your front and rear lights beginning at dusk. Maintain visibility at all times.
  • Don’t ride more than two abreast. You should not ride more than two abreast unless you are riding on roadways or trails designated exclusively to bicycles.
  • Don’t carry objects. When cycling, you should never carry any article or package that prevents you from keeping at least one hand on the handlebars.

What to Do If You’re Hurt by a Negligent Driver

A Bicyclist Riding Alongside a Red CarIf you are in a cycling accident with a negligent driver, you may not immediately know that you’re injured. Sometimes it can take several hours or even days for you to realize the extent of your injuries—even serious ones. After the accident and you’ve call the police, go to the hospital even if you think you may only have minor injuries.

Hospital personnel will provide a medical report that details the extent of your injuries. This report is important to your case if you take it to trial. Following your hospital visit, you should meet with your own doctor, get any additional medical care, and be sure to attend all physical therapy or treatment appointments. You may also consider taking photographs of your injuries and keeping a note of your symptoms after the accident and in the days that follow. Keeping specific notes can also help your case. Also, it’s helpful to have photographs of the damage to your bike and any other equipment.

Before you contact the insurance company, speak to a qualified bicycle accident attorney in Nashville. At GriffithLaw, we have extensive experience in bicycle accidents and negotiating this type of case with insurance companies. Call us at (615) 807-7900, or complete our online contact form for a free case review.


John Griffith
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Nashville Personal Injury Trial Attorney