Riding your bicycle through the streets of Knoxville is a great way to get around without using up gasoline in your car, and in the process, you get to enjoy some exercise. However, the price for taking in the outdoor weather during a bike ride is greater vulnerability to injury or even death if you are struck by an automobile.
Causes of bike accidents can vary. Cyclists and motorists alike can be distracted and not pay full attention to the road until it is too late. Some roads, due to greater traffic flow, create greater risk for bicycle accidents. Reasons for bicycle accidents occurring are more specific to certain cities and communities than others.
What Causes Bike Accidents in Knoxville?
A 2018 article by Knox News cited a report by the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization which showed that the predominant contributing factor of vehicles colliding with a bicycle was due to the driver not yielding during a turn, ranking 39% of bicycle/car accidents. 29% of accidents were caused by bicyclists riding on the sidewalk, and other factors compromised 32%.
Marking bike lanes for bikes to ride separately from motor traffic did not always help. The article identified a particular road where a bike lane was marked out. However, the number of bike and car accidents actually increased because vehicles, likely not used to the presence of bicycles, turned into the bike lane, causing bicycles to collide with the vehicles.
What Can Prevent Bike Accidents?
In an attempt to reduce incidences of bicycle/car accidents, the Knoxville Regional Transportation Planning Organization has created an interactive map that shows residents where bicycle and pedestrian accidents are most likely to occur. Local government authorities have also been marking bike lanes with more distinct colors, prohibiting right turns on red at certain locations, and putting up warning signs on roads.
In general, awareness of bicycles on the road is key to preventing collisions. According to Tennessee law, bicycles have the right to share the road with motor vehicles, so motorists should be on the lookout for bikes. A bike rider cited in the Knox News article observed that many drivers are courteous, but some can be inattentive and others resentful of the fact bikes ride on streets and not on sidewalks.
Remember that bike riders are much more vulnerable to injury than a person in an automobile. Proper driving and vigilance can prevent the worst from happening. Keep in mind that this article is written to inform Knoxville area residents about bicycle accidents and does not give actionable legal advice.