Officers talk 'rules of the road' on bike safety

Bike laws

BRISTOL, Tenn. - Volunteer Parkway is a busy road and it can be dangerous. "Every morning I get up and see people flying up and down this parkway, it's a wonder someone hasn't got hurt really bad," says driver Mich McCloud.

It's especially dangerous for those who are riding a bicycle.

Bicyclist Thomas Burchett tells us, "I ride my bike back and forth to work all the time and people don't really pay attention to you when you're on a bicycle."

In fact, Wednesday night a man on a bicycle was hit by a car on Broad Street. News 5 spoke with Sergeant Gregory Brown of the Bristol, Tennessee Police Department about the incident; he says the bicyclist was the one who was charged. "[He was charged with] failure to exercise care and maintain a proper lookout," says Sgt. Brown.

Officers say a lot of bicyclists don't realize that they have the same rules of the road as someone who's driving a vehicle. "[They must obey] red lights, stop signs. They have to ride with the flow of traffic, not against the flow of traffic," continued Brown.

Bike rider Thomas Burchett says he knows the laws and he doesn't think they are enforced. "They know the rules of the road, I know the rules of the road," he said. "They're supposed to give you three feet, but they don't give you three inches."

Sgt. Brown continues, "(Bicyclists) are not permitted to ride on the sidewalk, they have to ride with the flow of traffic on the roadway."

But Burchett doesn't agree with that law. "[Drivers] don't care, they're just wanting to get home and that's the reason I ride on the sidewalk. Nine times out of 10 if you're in the road, someone's going to run over you," says Burchett.

Officers also tell us riders 16 and under are required to wear a helmet. All bike riders have to have lights on the front and back of their bikes if it's dark outside, and riders are supposed to give hand signals when they are turning.

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