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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Davidson County District Attorney Sends A Message to Cyclists

Michael Rivas was riding down Old Hickory Boulevard  in May and was killed by an “inattentive“ texting motorist when he was hit from behind, struck the windshield and was thrown over the car. 

Bike Walk Tennessee and Walk Bike Nashville notified the Chief of Police and the District Attorney General that we wanted justice in the case of Michael Rivas. We were ignored. The police department report said the cyclist was riding too far to the left and the motorist was “inattentive”. Apparently they were equally responsible even though one walked away and the other was buried.
The DA refused to prosecute for a felony or a misdemeanor or even the three foot law. He said the motorist wasn’t “passing” as defined in the law! 

Bike Walk Tennessee passed Public Chapter 192 in 2011 to add bicyclists and pedestrians to the Due Care Law for failure to yield the right of way. This bill was brought about when Jerry Norman took his daily walk and was killed by a drowsy driver who drove up on the sidewalk.  The Davidson County DA refused to prosecute saying that it wasn’t against the law! Now the same DA refuses to enforce the amended statute in the case of Michael Rivas.

Bike Walk Tennessee needs your support to continue our campaign against this injustice. Join or donate today.


  1. This is outrageous. It also shows how far we have to go to change the attitude among most of the population including law enforcement that a cyclist does not really belong on the road.
    Thank you, Carey, for pursuing this. It's the first I've heard of the driver texting. That fact would not likely have come out if you had not pressed the issue.

  2. FWIW, texting while driving is illegal in the state.

    Now, one item that came out of the aggressive drivers meeting we had here in Knoxville is that the victims and their families do have recourse in civil court, even if the criminal process stalls out for whatever reason. A civil judgment can follow a perpetrator around for a long time.

  3. As a follow-up, does the LAB or some other national organization have training materials for the investigation of car/bike crashes? What about car/ped crashes? A lot of this stuff is probably due to high levels of ignorance rather than malice.

    As for the 3-ft law and the due care law, when are county district attorneys up for election? BWT and/or local organizations can conduct surveys for all the candidates to see where they stand on enforcing such.