Traffic rules exist to improve everyone's safety and are based on collective experience.· Most crashes can be avoided if both bicyclists and motorists follow the rules of the road. Individual drivers can make the roads safer by driving at reasonable speeds, expecting and slowing for bicyclists and pedestrians, and leaving plenty of room when passing.
When you pass a bicyclist on the street, please remember...
- Bicyclists are, by state law, drivers of vehicles
Bicyciists have the same rights as other vehicle drivers to be on the road
- Giving 3 feet or more clearance is the law in Tennessee
More clearance is needed as speed limits increase (>40 mph)
- Bicyclists are allowed to ride as far to the left of roadside hazards as needed for safety
If bicyclists squeeze over to the right, they endanger themselves. They end up facing debris on the road, bad storm drain grates and other road hazards like potholes
- Bicyclists are allowed to take the entire lane
When the lane is too narrow for the motorist to safely pass the bicyclist within the lane while still allowing the cyclist a safe buffer distance of 3 feet or more. This means the motorist has to wait behind for a safe chance to pass. Remember that it is easier to pass a person on a bicycle than that same person driving an automobile.
Please take a look at Tennessee Traffic Laws Relating to Bicycles, a Handbook for Motorists & Bicyclists published by the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization.
Here is an excerpt from the Tennessee Drivers Manual Study Guide on Sharing the Road .