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Cycling in Harmony

Riding a bike in Nashville, whether on city streets or country roads, is an exciting and efficient way to travel. Studies have shown that the more cyclists on city streets, the safer streets become for all users - cyclists, pedestrians and motorists.

Using your bike as a means of transportation saves you money, helps keep you fit and reduces your impact on the environment - but make sure you ride safely. Being aware of the rules for sharing the road with cars and pedestrians while cycling is your first step to Moving in Harmony.

Moving in Harmony on your bike

  • Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway is granted all of the rights, and is subject to all of the responsibilities, applicable to the driver of a vehicle.
  • Wear a helmet when riding your bike; it could save your life.
  • Cyclists, or bike passengers, 16-years or younger, are required by Tennessee law to wear a helmet.
  • Cyclists are legally required to ride with the flow of traffic, never against.
  • Use bike lanes when available and safe.
  • Signal all turns and lane changes 50 feet in advance.
  • When riding in a vehicle lane, stay as far to the right as is reasonable and safe, although:
    • Keep an arm's length distance from the side of the road to avoid debris.
    • Ride far enough to the left (either in a bike lane, or the road) that you won't run into a car door that's opened unexpectedly.
  • It is often necessary to "take the lane" (ride in the middle of the lane) when:
    • A lane is not wide enough for a car and bike to both occupy side-by-side.
    • Stopping at, and traveling through, an intersection - drivers are more likely to see you, and anticipate giving you space at the other side of the intersection.
    • When turning left, you may use the farthest right vehicle turn lane or far left vehicle lane, being careful to yield to on-coming motor vehicles when crossing lanes.
  • It is not recommended for adults to ride bikes on the sidewalk, and it is illegal in downtown Nashville. If riding on the sidewalk, always yield to pedestrians.
  • By law, cyclist must ride at night with a front white light and a rear red light or red reflector. Wearing reflective or light colored clothing is also highly recommended.
  • Do not exceed 15 miles per hour on Metro Nashville Greenways.
  • Alert walkers to your presence when passing (always on the left) on a shared Greenway.
  • Always yield to pedestrians, on greenways and while riding on streets.

Cyclist and motorist incidence statistics for Nashville Davidson County

Incident Type 2009 2010 2011
Injuries N/A N/A N/A
Fatalities 1 0 1