More people than ever are opting to leave their cars, trucks and SUVs parked and go by foot, public transportation or bicycle. While the motivations for this lifestyle change vary -- from saving money on gas and insurance to reducing carbon footprints and getting fit -- it would be something of an understatement to say that this transportation evolution has been the safest.
To illustrate, consider that statistics from the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security reveal that there were 359 bicycle crashes resulting in injuries and another nine bicycle crashes resulting in fatalities in 2016 alone. Furthermore, there have already been 61 bicycle crashes resulting in injuries and two bicycle crashes resulting in fatalities through the end of March 2017.
Given these sobering figures, questions naturally arise as to what bicyclists can do to keep themselves safe.
The good news is that the Tennessee Department of Transportation has identified some simple steps that bicyclists can take to help ensure their safety:
- Practice vehicular cycling, meaning bike much in the same manner as you would drive a vehicle, including riding with traffic, coming to a complete stop at stop signs, yielding when necessary, etc.
- Use arm signals
- Always wear clothing that enhances visibility and a helmet
- Outfit a bike with reflectors, as well as a white light for the front and a red light for the rear
As for motorists, they must always keep the following points in mind concerning bicyclists:
- Bicyclists have the same rights as motor vehicle operators to be on the road
- State law dictates that a minimum of three feet must be maintained when passing a bicycle on the street and more than three feet will be required if the posted speed limit is above 40 miles-per-hour
- If the lane is too narrow for a vehicle to pass, meaning there is insufficient room for the bicyclist to be safe from roadside hazards and the passing vehicle, state law dictates the bicyclist can take the entire lane and the motorist must wait for a safe opportunity to pass
Here's hoping for a safe summer for bicyclists and pedestrians across Tennessee.
If you've been seriously injured or lost a loved one in a bicycle accident or pedestrian accident caused by the recklessness of a motorist, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your options for seeking justice.