Tennessee boasts beautiful mountain ranges and panoramic views across the state, making it an appealing location for cyclists to take their bikes out for a spin. It also prompts Tennesseans to make biking a part of their daily commute, but this means the potential for a car and bicycle accident dramatically increases.
Cyclists have the right-of-way
According to the Tennessee Highway Safety Office, “You can ride your bike on many paved paths and greenways across the state, or in the road.” In the state of Tennessee, bicycle riders have the same rights as that of a car driver. This also means they must adhere to the same laws as that of a motor vehicle when they’re on the road.
That said, bicycle riders have the right-of-way at all crosswalks, intersections and driveways—except when there are pedestrians. In this case, cars and bikes must yield to passersby and those crossing intersections on foot.
The most dangerous cities
Even with more and more cities in Tennessee—and cities across the United States—taking steps for car drivers to share the road with bike riders, the potential for a car and a bike to crash with one another has climbed. For that reason, bicycle riders should avoid certain cities in Tennessee.
With only 10,000 residents, it’s hard to believe such a small town could make so many bike riders so wary. Due to its high traffic flow during business hours, this makes Alcoa a high-risk city for those riding their bikes. Statistics even show Alcoa has more car and bike crashes per year than much larger cities like Knoxville.
For every 1 million people, there are 4.6 fatal accidents involving a car driver and bicycle rider in Memphis. This not only makes it one of the most dangerous cities to bike in Tennessee but in the United States as well. With a population of over 650,000 residents and already 17 accidents in 2020, Memphis is an extremely unfriendly place for cyclists.
As the third most populous city in Tennessee, it probably comes as no surprise that Knoxville has a high accident rate between motor vehicles and bicycles. As of April 2020, it has the second-highest number of accidents in Tennessee, putting it high on the list of cities for Tennesseans to avoid when they ride their bikes.
What do if you’re in an accident
If you’re a cyclist and have hit or been hit by a motor vehicle, the first thing you should do is make sure everyone is okay. If there’s a serious injury, call 911 immediately for medical attention. Even if there are no injuries, call 911 anyway to report the accident. Take as many pictures as possible of the scene and exchange contact information with the car driver.
Though your injuries may seem minor or you don’t appear to have been injured at all, seeking medical attention is the smartest thing to do after an accident because there may be injuries beneath the surface. If you decide to file a claim, finding a Tennessee bicycle accident lawyer near you is the next step.