Updates to TN Bike laws since 2014:
In the summer of 2014, I published a summary of TN laws pertaining to bicycles, and the law in that article remains current, however there have been a few additional laws passed since that article was shared. Here are the updates in TN Bike Laws:
An entire portion of the TN code has been carved out to address e-bikes. Title 55, Chapter 8, Part 3 of the Tennessee Code is dedicated to E-Bikes, and classifies them based on whether they are pedal assist with a cap of 20mph (class 1,) exclusively motor propelled up to 20 mph (class 2,) and pedal assist that can go up to 28mph (class 3).
All 3 classes of E-bikes are banned on sidewalks, T.C.A. 55-8-306(a)(4), unless the motor is disabled and bicycles are otherwise allowed on the sidewalk.
The state code allows for class 1 and 2 e-bikes on bike paths, but explicitly states that municipalities may ban e-bikes on bicycle paths in the interest of public safety. Class 3 e-bikes are not allowed on bike paths unless allowed by a local governing agency, or the path is part of the roadway or runs adjacent to the roadway.
E-bikes are allowed to travel on roadways where bicycles are allowed to travel, and are not required to comply with the financial responsibility laws applicable to motor vehicles.
Vehicular Use of Bike Lane Prohibited T.C.A. §55-8-205:
In 2016, a new law was quietly passed, prohibiting parking or traveling in a bike lane, with limited exceptions. At the time the law was in committee, Bike Walk Tennessee advocate Amy Johnson spoke with legislators and encouraged them to include a provision in the statute which added the requirement of checking the bike lane for oncoming traffic and yielding prior to traveling through the bike lane, however there was concern that the law would not pass with this additional language, so as it stands parking or traveling in the bike lane is prohibited, with exceptions for vehicles for hire, and emergency vehicles.