Transportation safety in Nashville is changing. However, it doesn’t seem like the changes are incorporating bicyclists. Last year was the worst year for bicycle accidents and pedestrian accidents in the last two decades.
Unlike car drivers, bicyclists aren’t protected by two tons of metal. This means when bicycle accidents occur, bicyclists are at a higher risk for catastrophic, life changing injuries. Worse, there are many cases in Tennessee where car drivers don’t bother stopping after hitting a cyclist. Most often, bicycle accidents occur under the following circumstances:
- Accidents at a stop sign – Typically, this type of collision occurs when car drivers ignore the cyclist’s turn and enter the intersection at the same time
- Left cross accidents – This type of bicycle accident occurs when a car driver fails to see a cyclist who is attempting to take a left turn
- Right cross accidents – This collision most often occurs when a car passes a bicyclist on the left-hand side and turns directly into the bike’s path
- Doored – Cyclists can sustain serious injuries when they are involved in a collision with a car door that suddenly opens in their path
- Being overtaken by cars – This happens when a car runs into the rear-end of the bicycle. Most motorists are not aware they should not follow a bike too closely
In order to avoid these and other types of bicycle accidents, riders can take the following steps to stay safe:
- Maximize visibility by wearing bright and reflective clothing
- Always ride with traffic, rather than against it
- Adjust your speed when approaching an intersection
- Never overtake a vehicle on the right side
- Use a crosswalk when possible if you have to cross an intersection
- Prepare to brake quickly if a car cuts you off at an intersection
- Ride predictably
In Tennessee, bicyclists have the same rights as car drivers on the road. The state has also modified its comparative fault system so that those injured in bicycle accidents are able to recover damages.
Stanley A. Davis is a Nashville bike accident attorney who fights for injured cyclists in the Music City.
“And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” Matthew 21:22