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SEN-01-18 A Bill to Improve Safety of Bicycle Traffic Flow

BILL#: SEN-01-18

TITLE:  A Bill to Improve Safety of Bicycle Traffic Flow

SPONSOR: Hayes, Mateos (

Peterson, Grant (

Tank, Robert (

Ammen, Spencer (                                     

DATE:       26 September, 2017


Whereas, the 2016 long range master plan includes plans to install greenways on Joe Johnson Bridge and Ped Walkway, as well as on Volunteer Blvd [5], and

Whereas, the estimated number of cyclists on campus is over 1,000, whilst only 30% of these cyclists are registered, and

Whereas, the current master plan acknowledges a distinct lack of adequate facilities for bicycles [5], and

Whereas, 418 “pedalcyclist” traffic accidents occurred in 2016 in the state of Tennessee, with 368 fatalities [6], and

Whereas, signage and bicycle pathways are poorly marked, thus causing motorists to be less alert and thus less likely to see bicycles [1], and

Whereas, a 2010 study performed in Gainesville, Florida by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) focused on [1];

  1. Increasing awareness of pedestrian and bicycle traffic to motorists via radio and media ads, pamphlets, written warnings to non-compliant drivers,
  2. The improvement of traffic flow control devices by installation of better signage and road markings,

Whereas, this study saw an increase in motorists yielding to pedestrians and bicycles from 30 to more than 70 percent in over a year following the installation of adequate signage and markings [1], and

Whereas, such literature (pamphlets, maps, guides) already exist here on the campus and are distributed by the TRECS [10].

Whereas, Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) legislation (TCA 55-8-175) states that “Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic at the time and place and under the conditions then existing shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway” [9], and

Whereas, such language has been deemed unclear and thus problematic for bicycle safety as it causes and/or exacerbates [3];

  1. Confusion caused as to what is meant by ‘practicable’,
  2. Limited public knowledge with regards to where a cyclist is required to ride by law,
  3. Inconsistent official statements as to where it is legally permissible for cyclists to ride,
  4. A resorting to individual interpretation rather than official guidance as to how the law is applied,

Be it hereby resolved, that the University of Tennessee do the following to better ensure the safety of cyclists on campus;

  1. Include in the masterplan an initiative to install signage which clearly demarcates where bike lanes and “sharrows” begin and end, as the aforementioned is installed on Volunteer Boulevard, Pedestrian Walkway so as to increase the awareness of motor vehicle operators and pedestrians regarding cyclists, and remind them to share the road with them;
  2. Improve the existing markings on Volunteer Boulevard by adding reflective strips so that these markings draw more attention and are thus more visible to those operating motor vehicles
  3. Increase awareness in the community by;
  4. dispersing pamphlets, flyers, brochures, indicating tips for safe bicycle riding and giving a guide to local bicycle law, as well as the best places to ride, all of which are included on the Parking and Transit website.
  5. Ensure the broadcast of all the information (pamphlets, brochures, maps, guides) available on their website by printing and distributing it, as well as advertising via email and Facebook. This would also function as a good median through which cyclists can learn of a (bicycle maintenance service) located in the TRECS
  • Further increasing the awareness of motorists by issuing pamphlets to drivers found to not comply with “share the road laws” not unlike those that were used in the Gainesville test, in addition to airing radio announcements reminding motorists to share the road.


[1] Administration, N. H. (2013). High-Visibility Enforcement on Driver Compliance With Pedestrian Right-of-Way Laws. Washington, DC: Department of Transportation .

[2] Association, W. A. (2016, September 14). Washington Area Bicyclist Association. Retrieved from POCKET GUIDE:

[3] Bicyclists, T. L. (2015, September 14). MODEL WHERE TO RIDE LAW. Retrieved from The League of American Bicyclists :

[4] Bikeshare, C. (2017, September 14). Riding Tips. Retrieved from Capital Bikeshare:

[5] Bullock, S. a. (2016). Long Range Master Plan – 2016 Update. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee.

[6] Security, T. D. (2017). Tennessee Pedalcyclists Involved Traffic Crashes by Year, Type and County 2007-2017 (06/30/2017). Nashville: State of Tennessee .

[7] Transportation, T. D. (2013). Tennessee Traffic Laws Relating to Bicycles. Nashville: State of Tennesse.

[8] Transportation, T. D. (2017, September 14). Bicycle and Pedestrian Program. Retrieved from Tennessee Department of Transportation:

[9] Transportation, T. D. (2017). Tennessee Bicycle Laws. Nashville: State of Tennesse .

[10] Transit, P. (2017). Bicycles. Retrieved from Parking and Transit: