The application of traffic Laws to the use of bicycles is not well understood by the general public, by city and state officials, or even by officers entrusted to enforce those laws.

This webpage details the bicycle law for use by

Unless on a dedicated bicycle trail, bicycles belong on the road
The law states - Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway is granted all the rights, and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle 

Learn and obey the laws   STATE LAWS     CITY LAWS

Most laws are based on the Federal Uniform Vehicle Code

ALWAYS report an incident to the POLICE or SHERIFF

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- Attorney - Laws detailed on this Web Site and associated links are provided FYI only. If you have a legal issue ALWAYS contact a competent attorney-at-law.  Need help? Contact Tennessee Bicycle Crash Attorney Amy Benner Johnson 

Bicycling & the Law by Bob Mionske,a nationally known cycling lawyer with a practice exclusively focused on representing cyclists. This is the first book written for cyclists on their legal rights and responsibilities since 1895. Bob represented the U.S. in the 1988 and 1992 Olympics as a pro cyclist.

- Aggressive driving / harassment
If you are physically threatened by a driver or passenger’s actions, note the license plate number and a description of the vehicle and the harasser, and call the appropriate law enforcement agency as soon as possible.  

If you choose to file charges, you (not the police) will have to have sufficient evidence to prove your allegations in court.

- Assault 
A few motorists verbally threaten bicyclists, or even throw objects at them.  Such actions violate State law TCA 55-8-178(e)

A person commits assault who: (1) Intentionally, knowingly or recklessly causes bodily injury to another; (2) intentionally or knowingly causes another to reasonably fear imminent bodily injury; or (3) intentionally or knowingly causes physical contact with another and a reasonable person would regard the contact as extremely offensive or provocative.

If the driver or passenger assaults you with an object, that would be simple assaultTCA. § 39-13-101.

If they use the vehicle to try to run you off the road or hit you, that is considered aggravated assault because the vehicle is a weapon. TCA § 39-13-102 

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It is not unusual for law enforcement officers to lack knowledge of the law as it applies to bicyclistsIf a bicyclist is in a situation where the officer does not know the law, s/he should obey the officer and take the matter up with the Chief of Police.

Click here A Law Officers Guide to Bicycle Safety -- Reference Guide
Bicycle Law Enforcement, Law and Order Magazine, July 2013
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Although the laws cited in the video were developed for Boise, Idaho, they apply to Tennessee


55-8-175 Riding on roadways and bicycle paths.
(c) (1) This subsection (c) shall be known and may be cited as the "Jeff Roth and Brian Brown Bicycle Protection Act of 2007.
     (2)The operator of a motor vehicle, when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet (3') and shall maintain the clearance until safely past the overtaken bicycle.
(d) A violation of this section is a Class C misdemeanor.
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Don't ever let a pet owner tell you there is no leash law; the leash law is county-wide.
Call Sumner County Sheriff, 452-2616
Serious Injury in need of medical attention - Call 911  

Many bikers are bitten and/or harassed by dogs.  Below what you should do.  DOG LAW 

    In any bite case, get a police report detailing the bite. (At the appropriate time, tell your health care provider about the situation and they will decide whether or not to subrogate against the pet owner; of course, it makes it a lot easier if there is a police report involved.)
    Any time you have a run in with dogs or a harassing motorist, call the Sumner County Sheriff Office (SCSO) and get the incident "on record." With enough complaints, the SCSO has an easier job of enforcing the law. 
    Call the SCSO main number at 452-2616. You have to wait on the line for dispatch to answer. The Animal Control officer is a SCSO officer also, so the SCSO will contact/send him for you (on the road) if you call and have actually been bitten or feel the dog is a threat (always call if it's a pit bull on the loose whether he bites you or not/also call if there are multiple dogs).
    If bite breaks the skin, call animal control so the dog can be quarantined for rabies control (particularly out in the rural areas where dogs are less likely to be up to date on their shots and have more exposure to rabies).

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