For bicyclists, safety depends more on how you ride rather than where. Many studies show that bicyclists who practice “Vehicular Cycling,” following the rules of the road and using front and rear lights starting at dusk, are statistically as safe as motorists and up to twenty times safer than bicyclists who don’t follow road rules or use lights.
Following these rules makes the streets safe for everyone...
STOP at Lights and Signs
Stop and yield to cross traffic before entering a road from a driveway or sidewalk. Stop at stop signs. Stop when you have the red at traffic signals. Remember, you are the driver of a vehicle and have the same rights AND responsibilities as motorists. Follow all rules of the road.
Be Predictable and Visible
A bicyclist should ride to the right so that other vehicles can pass, but the bicyclist should ride in a predictable straight line. Swerving left to avoid potholes, parked cars, broken glass and other hazards can surprise motorists who are attempting to pass. A bicyclist who stays too far to the right is less visible to drivers. Moving left when the lane is too narrow for a bicycle and another vehicle to share helps motorists who might otherwise misjudge passing space.
Ride with Traffic
A bicyclist who rides facing oncoming traffic increases his/her risk of being hit by a motorist. Drivers entering and exiting the roadway at side streets and driveways do not expect bicyclists to approach from the wrong direction.
Use arm signals to communicate turning or merging movements to other drivers. If you communicate with motorists they will likely cooperate with you.
Wear a Helmet
Your helmet is a lot like a seat belt. Wear it all the time as “insurance,” but then drive so safely that you never need that insurance.
Lights on at Dusk
Use a white light on the front and we recommend a red light in the rear as well, whenever you ride at dusk or after dark. Reflectors are not enough. Motorists try to avoid hitting a cyclist they can see, but a bicycle without lights at night is nearly invisible. Headlights are not just used so that the bicyclist can see where he/she is going—the most important purpose of lights and refl ectors is to let motorists know that the bicyclist is there.
Please take a look at Tennessee Traffic Laws Relating to Bicycles, a Handbook for Motorists & Bicyclists .
Here is an excerpt from the Tennessee Drivers Manual Study Guide on Sharing the Road .