Many Tennessee residents prefer to travel by bicycle. Bicycles offer several advantages over traveling by motor vehicle. Still, there are safety considerations that you will want to keep in mind if you plan on traveling by bicycle in any Tennessee city, including Brentwood.

Brentwood is home to trails and other facilities that encourage travel by bike. Whether you are a seasoned rider or considering taking up bicycling for either exercise or your everyday commute, it can be helpful to know what sort of environment Brentwood presents to bicyclists. 

And, if you find yourself in an accident, setting up a free consultation with an experienced bicycle accident lawyer is one of the best decisions you can make.

Basic Brentwood Bicycling Safety Facts

The Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security recorded 370 accidents involving bicyclists in 2020. Overall, 12 of these were fatal crashes that killed at least 1 person, and 317 more of them resulted in an injury to at least 1 person. The remaining 41 accidents were wrecks that only involved property damage.

In total, 9 of these 370 bicycle accidents occurred in Williamson County, where Brentwood is located. This is less than the 14 accidents that happened in 2019 and the 10 that occurred in 2018. Further, 7 of the 9 bicycle crashes that happened in Williamson County in 2020 resulted in injuries, while 1 was a fatal crash. The remaining accident only resulted in property damage.

Common Causes of Bicycle Accidents

Although there are not many bicycle accidents that happen in Williamson County, those that do generally happen for the following reasons:

  • Bicyclists failing to yield the right of way, especially at intersections and crosswalks
  • Motorists who fail to give sufficient clearance to bicyclists when passing them
  • Drivers who are distracted, such as by cell phones or food and drink
  • Car and truck drivers that are inebriated or under the influence of drugs
  • Road rage
  • Drivers who park on the street and open their car doors without looking for approaching bicyclists

These and other common reasons bicycle wrecks occur are all similar in that they are the result of negligent or reckless conduct. In this way, many bicycle accidents can be prevented if Brentwood drivers and cyclists exercise care around one another.

Bicycle Facilities and Infrastructure in Brentwood

Although Brentwood city leaders have announced plans to improve access by bicycle within Brentwood, some infrastructure already exists for those who choose this style of transportation. For instance, there are various trails and pathways throughout the city’s parks that allow those who ride recreationally to do so on designated paved areas.

Brentwood also has created bike lanes along some of its roads, such as Knox Valley Drive, as a way to improve bicycle safety. These bicycle lanes are located along the right side of roadways and are meant for use only by bicyclists. It is against Tennessee law for any motor vehicle driver to operate their vehicle in a bike lane, regardless of whether it is being used.

Future Infrastructure Plans

Beginning in 2018, the City of Brentwood began considering plans to expand its pedestrian and bicycle train system and develop a system that better connected the various parts of the city. Such improvements would make more of the city accessible to bicyclists and pedestrians without forcing them to use streets and sidewalks alongside motor vehicles.

Essential Tennessee Bicycle Safety Laws To Know

Following Tennessee’s bicycle laws is crucial to remaining safe on Brentwood’s streets. These specific statutes impose additional obligations on bicyclists that go above and beyond those other motorists must obey. 

Some of the more important laws to keep in mind include::

Tennessee Bicycle Helmet Law

Bicycle riders in Tennessee who are under the age of 16 must always wear a properly fitted and appropriate bike helmet. Once a rider is over the age of 16, they can choose whether to wear a bicycle helmet while riding. 

However, all riders are encouraged to wear a helmet no matter where they are riding, as this simple piece of safety equipment can dramatically reduce the chance of a severe or fatal head injury.

Lights on Bicycles

Bicycles in Tennessee must be equipped with a white reflector on the front and a red reflector on the rear. The Tennessee Highway Safety Office recommends replacing one or both reflectors with illuminated lights for added visibility, but this is not required.

Safe Passing Law

Tennessee law mandates that all motorists give bicyclists at least three feet of clearance when the motorist is overtaking a cyclist. While this law puts an obligation on the drivers of motor vehicles to ensure this safety buffer is followed, it is helpful for bicyclists to also be aware of this law. 

Riding on Sidewalks and Roads

Brentwood bicyclists can choose to ride their bicycles on the road or use a sidewalk. If you choose to ride your bike on the road, you should ride as far to the right as you can and ride with traffic. You are not required to use a bike lane, even if one is available to you. The only exception is that if a lane is available and you are making a turn, you should use the bike lane.

You may also ride your bicycle on the sidewalk in Brentwood. Bicyclists who do so must yield the right of way to any pedestrians who are also using the sidewalk. This means that if you are riding and a pedestrian is blocking your path, you must wait until that pedestrian has safely moved out of your way.

The Future of Bicycling in Brentwood

Present and future planned investments in Brentwood’s bicycling infrastructure aim to make using a bicycle in the community safer for everyone. No matter what infrastructure a city features for bicycling, however, following the applicable laws is vital.

Whether you are a resident or visitor to this city, by following Tennessee laws and making use of available biking trails, you and your family can have a more enjoyable biking experience.