Bicycle Laws in Knoxville, TN

Five common misconceptions about bicycling in Knoxville, and what the actual laws have to say about them.

It's a friggin' toy and I can do whatever I want toodling around my own neighborhood.

Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway is granted all of the rights and is subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.

It's a tight squeeze, but I can get this Hummer past 'em.

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.

Helmets are optional for the kids.

With regard to any bicycle used on a state roadway, it is unlawful for any person under the age of sixteen (16) to operate or be a passenger on a bicycle unless at all times when so engaged such person wears a protective bicycle helmet of good fit fastened securely upon the head with the straps of the helmet.

It came with reflectors so that must be all I need at night.

Every bicycle when in use at nighttime shall be equipped with a lamp on the front which shall emit a white light visible from a distance of at least five hundred feet (500') to the front and with a red reflector on the rear of a type approved by the department of safety which shall be visible from all distances from fifty feet (50') to three hundred feet (300') to the rear when directly in front of lawful upper beams of head lamps on a motor vehicle. A lamp emitting a red light visible from a distance of five hundred feet (500') to the rear may be used in addition to the red reflector.

It must be okay... I saw a bike cop do it downtown.

This subsection does not apply to a certified police cyclist engaged in the lawful performance of duty relating to traffic control or in pursuit of an actual or suspected violator of the law.

(Review a complete list of Tennessee's laws that pertain to bicycles)