Bicycle Safety in Tennessee

Bicycle Safety in Tennessee
Bicycling is growing in popularity in Tennessee, and the state has passed laws to make it a little safer. The state now requires children to wear helmets, and there are new rules about cycling on the roadways to make the roads less hazardous.


In 1994, Tennessee passed a law requiring the use of helmets for cyclists under the age of 16. The City of Clarksville passed the same requirement a year earlier. There was a move to repeal the law, but it was reconfirmed in 2000.

Three-Feet Law

In 2007, Tennessee passed a "three-feet" law, requiring automobiles to give cyclists three feet of space when passing them on highways. This became an issue as two men were killed in separate accidents on highways in the state in 2006.


The state has also ruled that cyclists must obey the same rules as other vehicles, and that a bicycle is considered a vehicle just like a car or truck. Cyclists must also obey all traffic signs and drive on the right side of the road.

Prevention and Solutions

Bicycles are considered vehicles just as automobiles are and, when necessary, may occupy an entire lane of traffic. Cars may not occupy the same lane of traffic if they cannot give the cyclist three feet of clearance space.


Some cities, such as Knoxville, allow riding on the sidewalks. If cyclists ride on sidewalks, they must obey laws as though they are a pedestrian.


The state encourages all people to wear helmets when cycling. Helmets must meet minimum safety standards set by the federal government.

Article Written By James Jordan

James Jordan has been a writer and photographer since 1980. He has worked for newspapers in Arkansas, Tennessee, South Carolina and Kansas, winning state press association awards for writing, photography and page design. In 1995 he received his master's in Christian education and completed two years of Ancient Greek at the graduate level. Jordan holds a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.

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