Bicycle accidents in Nashville happen more often than you might think, and according to a new study, the city is one of the worst in the country for cyclists. Specifically, The Tennessean recently reported that Nashville was ranked the fourth worst city for cyclists in the United States.
“I will say, usually Nashville is one of the higher-ranked cities,” Danetha Doe, one of the researchers who conducted the study, said in an interview with The Tennessean. “But this was an area that, you know, could stand some improvement.”
What makes Nashville so dangerous for cyclists?
Anytime Estimate conducted the study, which ranked “bike-friendliness” among the 50 largest cities in the country. The study compared 10 criteria, including how many people commute to work on a bicycle, the miles of bike trails in the city, and the number of bicycle shops.
Portland, Oregon, was ranked the most bike-friendly city in the country, followed by San Francisco and San Jose, California. The worst bike-friendly city was Dallas, which came in 50th place. Not far behind were Tennessee’s two largest cities – Nashville, ranked the 47th worst bike-friendly city in the US, and Memphis (ranked 46th).
Nashville’s “bikeability” score (which measures how easy it is to ride a bike in a particular place) was 30 out of 100, the lowest score for all 50 cities in the study. To put this number in perspective, the average bikeability score nationwide for all cities is 54. Conversely, Portland, OR, received an 83, the highest of any city in the study.
Nashville’s Vision Zero Plan
Nashville’s Vision Zero plan aims to make city roads safer for everyone by changing infrastructure and lowering preventable roadway fatalities to zero. According to The Tennessean, Nashville’s Vision Zero plan can help improve safety by:
- Creating safer sidewalks and bike lanes through redesigned roadways
- Improve bus stops by adding more signage
- Concentrate efforts on highly-vulnerable areas
- Raise awareness and educate the public to create a culture of safety
Vision Zero is a five-year plan that also encourages more collaboration and transparency between the Mayor’s Office, the Tennessee Department of Transportation, the Metro Nashville Police Department, and other departments to help improve roads and reduce accidents.
Tennessee bicycle accident statistics
Nashville bike riders aren’t the only ones at risk. Cyclists throughout Tennessee and across the country have been involved in more bicycle accidents every year.
In 2020, 932 cyclists were killed nationwide in bike accidents, an increase of 9 percent compared to 2019, when 865 bicycle accident fatalities occurred. Those numbers are according to accident statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
As for Tennessee, bicycle accident fatalities reached a record high in 2020. That year, 13 cyclists died in fatal bicycle accidents, the most bike accident deaths in Tennessee in at least a decade, according to bike accident data collected by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Common causes of bicycle accidents
Bicycle accidents and fatalities have increased in Tennessee and nationwide for several reasons. According to Advocacy Advance, a bicycle safety organization, some of the reasons bicycle accident injuries and deaths have increased include:
- More SUVs and trucks on the road - larger vehicles cause more severe injuries when drivers hit a cyclist
- Distracted drivers, especially drivers who are texting while driving - when these drivers look at their phones and take their eyes off the road, serious bicycle accidents can quickly occur.
Other common causes of bicycle accidents include:
- Drivers under the influence of alcohol or drugs
- Aggressive drivers who don’t share the road with cyclists
- Tired drivers who veer off the road and hit cyclists
Bicycle accidents happen for many other reasons, but negligence is usually a main contributing factor when a cyclist gets hit by a car. As a result, holding negligent drivers accountable is critical, as it sends a strong message that reckless driving will not be tolerated on our roads.
Talk to a Nashville bike accident attorney right away.
You might think you don’t need a bicycle accident lawyer if a careless driver hits you, especially if a local police officer or state trooper from the Tennessee Highway Patrol is investigating your crash.
However, it’s important to understand the scope of the police’s investigation. When a police officer or state trooper investigates an accident, they try to determine what happened and who was at fault. They’re not focused on whether you’re fairly compensated for your injury-related expenses.
That’s our job. That’s why if you were injured in a Nashville bicycle accident, we want to meet with you right away to review your legal rights and options. At the Law Office of Eric Beasley, our legal team has the knowledge, experience, and resources to aggressively advocate for your best interests and fight for the compensation you’re entitled to under Tennessee law.