We all know there is some risk in riding a bike on a public road although it’s not nearly as dangerous as your average citizen may think, especially for an experienced rider familiar with safe riding techniques. The primary threat of serious injury is the people in those large two ton vehicles that don’t consider sharing the road. Some of them are opposed to bicycle driving but I think most are just unthinking.
Bike Walk Tennessee sponsored and passed legislation through the General Assembly to insure that the “Due Care Law” included bicyclists and pedestrians injured or killed by motorists. We are now waiting to see if and how that law is applied in actual cases. Representative Mike Stewart and Senator Andy Berke took the lead in successfully completing this legislation. This is the type of activity by Bike Walk Tennessee that improved our ranking as a Bicycle Friendly State but there is much more work to be done.
Unfortunately there are occasionally cyclist fatalities on Tennessee roads such as the tragedy that killed Michael Rivas this month in Nashville. The driver “didn’t see him” although Michael was using a tail light according to a family member. Local advocates in Walk Bike Nashville expressed our sympathy to the family and we are following the case and intend to see that justice is done.
Every case is a tragedy but Stacey Floyd was riding with four members of his family when a motorist “blinded by the sun” struck the group. According to the family accounts he warned the other riders just before the car made impact.
Kate Richardson was spending the summer working in Tennessee away from her home in Vermont when she was killed by a drunk driver in Cocke County. Dan Ford is charged with vehicular homicide and driving while intoxicated but has yet to go to trial. He recently was relieved of the requirement to use an interlock device in his vehicle. Note there is a specially appointed Judge and Prosecutor in the case. Vehicular homicide is a class B felony with a potential of 25 years in prison.
The League of American Bicylists recently began logging all cyclist fatalities at Every Bicyclist Counts. They intend to analyze and report on the collected data.