Right-of-way laws in Tennessee

Despite the attempts to raise awareness of the issue of recognizing motorcycles on Shelby's roads, many motorists still have a difficult time doing so. Sadly, such inattentive motorists likely suffer the least due to their carelessness (be it deliberate or unintentional). Indeed, information shared by the Insurance Information Institute shows that there were 5,286 motorcyclists killed on American roads in 2016. One of more common excuses offered up by motorists who have struck motorcyclists is that they were not aware that motorcycles had the same rights to the use of the road as traditional vehicles. 

Tennessee state law affords the same rights to roadway use to all vehicles, meaning that motorists must indeed yield the right-of-way to motorcyclists in any situation that calls for it. What are such scenarios? According to Sections 55-8-128 - 55-8-131 of the Tennessee state code for Motor and Other Vehicles, these include: 

  • A driver approaching an intersection yielding the right-of-way to any vehicles that have already entered the intersection from a different highway or drive
  • The driver on the left yielding the right-of-way to the driver on the right when two vehicles arrive at an intersection from a different highway or drive at the same time
  • A driver intending to turn left at an intersection yielding the right-of-way to anyone approaching the intersection from the opposite direction
  • A driver approaching an intersection at a through highway (with the intent to turn on to the highway) yielding the right-of-way to any approaching vehicles already traveling on the through highway
  • A driver intending to cross a through highway from an intersection yielding the right-of-way to any approaching vehicles already traveling on the through highway

A citation issued to a motorist that failed to yield the right-of-way may be used to help assign liability in a motorcycle accident

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