July 8th began as a fairly normal Saturday for Tyler Noe of Nolensville, Tennessee as he ventured out on a morning bike ride with friend Greg Goodman. The two chose a section of the Natchez Trace Parkway—a 444-mile recreational road managed by the National Park Service that draws thousands of cyclists each year from all over the country; thanks to its scenic settings and pedal-friendly road rules.
Yet, this summer day quickly spiraled out of control when the driver of a black SUV passing the cyclists cut back into the lane too soon, clipping Noe and knocking him to the pavement. Adding insult to injury, the driver did not stop—continuing along the parkway and leaving the injured rider in the middle of the road.
Luckily, Mr. Goodman had been recording the ride on his helmet-mounted GoPro camera. Police were able to use the video to track down the driver and charge him with reckless endangerment, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to render aid and failure to immediately notify of an accident.
While Tennessee requires drivers to give cyclists a three-foot clearance at all times, not everyone is aware of the law and some motorists find themselves at odds with two wheel travelers. It’s best for both users of our roadways to be mindful of each other and follow these simple rules regardless if you’re the one in or outside the car:
Always Pass Slowly – studies have shown that a person struck by a car is 8 times more likely to be killed when struck at 30 mph compared to 20 mph.
Ride Single File – give cars the ability to pass you safely without having to completely divert into the lane of oncoming traffic.
Put the Phone Down – this rule is becoming applicable to both drivers and riders at an alarming rate; no one should ever drive or ride distracted.
For more information about sharing the road as well as an overview of bike laws by state, visit www.bikeleague.org.
Thomas Greer is a Memphis, TN personal injury trial attorney with Bailey & Greer. He has extensive trial experience in both state and federal court. Among other victories in the courtroom, Thomas obtained a $3.7 million jury verdict in a personal injury trucking case and a $500,000 wrongful death jury verdict in an auto accident case.