Using a bike as your form of transportation, exercise or recreation comes with many benefits. It can also be dangerous when you share the road with other vehicles. In 2012, 29 percent of bicycle-related injuries resulted from cars hitting cyclists, reports the Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center. The good news is that you can avoid getting in a collision with a car by following simple safety rules. This is especially significant for males and those 45 years old or higher, as they have higher fatality rates.
Tennessee bicycle laws
First, you must know the bicycle laws in Tennessee to ensure you are riding legally and safely. Remember to do the following:
- Follow all traffic laws and signals.
- Ride in the same direction as traffic, whether you are on the road or sidewalk.
- Use your arms to signal your turns and stops.
- Do not use electronic devices, including music players, while riding.
- Always check for the movement of other vehicles.
- Equip your bike with lights and reflectors so motorists can see you.
The bottom line is to be defensive. Take precautions and always assume other drivers cannot see you even when you think they can.
Accident prevention tips
Although doing your part to follow the law makes a difference, it is not enough to prevent an accident. You also need to account for other motorists' reckless driving. Drivers may be distracted, rushed or ignorant of how to share the road with cyclists. You can avoid a crash by doing the following:
- Not riding at night or while intoxicated
- Slowing down when riding on the sidewalk
- Stopping before crossing side streets and driveways
- Watching out for parked cars, especially doors opening
- Making sure the driver sees you before making a move
- Avoiding narrow streets that make it difficult for cars to pass you
It may be wise to practice making quick stops and swerves safely. Also, slow down when a car passes you in case it makes a sudden right turn, causing you to crash into the vehicle. Most of all, remember to always follow the flow of traffic. Riding in the wrong direction is a common source of collisions between motor vehicles and bicycles.
If an accident still happens and you become injured, immediately obtain medical treatment. Gather as much information and evidence as you can under the circumstances, and then call a personal injury attorney to help you handle the rest and seek financial compensation. Act quickly as the Tennessee statute of limitations is only one year.