10/12/06 – Sharing the Road? What are Cyclists’ Rights?

It seems that more now than ever I’m hearing stories of awkward and occasionally violent meetings between cyclists and motorists. There’s the things we’ve all encountered – honking, yelling, maybe you’ve even had things thrown at you. But lately there’s been swerving, verbal exchanges at traffic lights, and intentional screeching of brakes. In fact, WKRN ran a news story just weeks ago as a part of their “I’m ticked off!” series about motorists frustrations with cyclists in rural Nashville. How far is too far?

Actually, our real questions should be; What is fueling these incidents and how do we extinguish the flame? Are motorists just intolerant or are we cyclists provoking them? What can we do to improve this situation?

Well, educating all motorists on the rights of cyclists and telling them to back off would take a very long time and would be quite ineffective; even though some of them probably need to hear it. However, we cyclists can learn our rights and the responsibilities that accompany those rights and become smarter, more considerate cyclists and hope that we can change the hearts of the motorists in our area. So, where do we begin?

First, the best resource for finding your rights and responsibilities as a cyclist in most states is: http://massbike.org/bikelaw/statelaws.htm. This website links to other online resources which reference the driver’s code for most states and even some territories of the U.S. The listing for the state of Tennessee is very thorough and clear and is worth a read; whether to discover your rights and responsibilities for the first time or to refresh your memory. Continue reading “10/12/06 – Sharing the Road? What are Cyclists’ Rights?”