Friday, March 6, 2009

Bicyclist Killed in Traffic Accident

I regret to inform you that David Meek, former Chattanooga Bicycle Club president, was killed this morning in an accident while riding to work on Ashland Terrace. You can read the details at the following links:

David was a great cyclist in his own right and passionate about cycling and making the club the best it could be. We lost a great friend today.

Philip Pugliese, Bicycle Coordinator, Outdoor Chattanooga


coastdownhills said...

This is a tragedy. There's no question David knew his stuff. All of us who ride in traffic have enough near misses to realize "It could have been me." This motivates me to write a letter to the Sumner County Board of Education about the aggressive bus drivers including the one that brushed me last month. Perhaps some good will come of David's death, but it's still a tragedy.

wttuckerjr said...


Please do write the letter to the SCBoE about the bus drivers. And everybody else that’s had a close call with one of these drivers, I would urge you to write also. It’s happened to me more than once. When I wrote them, I got a polite “we’ll let the drivers know” brush off response, and I’ve yet to see the drivers be any less aggressive. Maybe, with enough complaints they might be forced to recognize the problem and realize that inaction on their part may compound their liability should a rider get injured – especially since they will be unable to deny having adequate warning.


coastdownhills said...

Thanks for validating my impression that School Bus Drivers are among the more aggressive drivers on our rural roads. When it's done, I'll also post my letter here.

coastdownhills said...

Larry Rigsbee
Director of Transportation
Sumner County Schools
850 Industrial Blvd
Gallatin, TN 37077

RE: aggressive bus drivers

Dear Mr. Rigsbee:

About three weeks ago around 4 pm while I was cycling south on Saundersville Road a school bus passed me with no more than a twelve inch clearance. The bus then turned into the Wynbrooke Subdivision. I was just past the Golden home and on the bit of shoulder at that section. Several other cars had passed me and all had given me at least six feet of clearance and most moved completely into the left lane since there was no oncoming traffic. The school bus was also traveling abut 10 mph faster than the rest of traffic. This frightened me but by my arrival home the incident was forgotten. Last Friday a cyclist was killed in Chattanooga when a postal truck passed too closely and last week I learned two local school children had been killed in the past month in separate single car accidents. These have prompted this letter.

School bus drivers are the most aggressive drivers I routinely encounter on my bicycle rides in rural Sumner. They are the most likely to pass me on a blind curve, drive at an unsafe speed, and to pull out into oncoming traffic from a side road. They are no doubt under time pressure but so are the UPS and Fedex trucks who drive sanely. Not only is the school bus cargo more precious but is also watching and learning from the driver.

This is not to condemn every bus driver but the observed pattern has been consistent enough over time and geography to suggest an institutional problem. Please consider making changes to promote safer driving and specifically note the Jeff Roth and Brian Brown Bicycle Protection Act of 2007 which requires passing cyclists by at least three feet. On most Sumner county secondary roads this means pulling fully over to the oncoming lane.

Sincerely yours,

Bruce Day

Nancy_P said...

I am a school bus driver (field trips) and a cycle person. I am in agreement with the comment about the drivers being aggressive. I have to go to inservice meetings with other drivers and listen to them tell stories about cars almost hitting them and wonder if they realize how fast they drive. I have actually reported the drivers in my own county that I see while on my way to school or even on long trips that were doing things they should not. I have been driving for 17 years in all large cities in Tennessee driving my Special Olympic basketball teams and feel I am a good driver (no accidents driving 90 passenger) but I always drive defensively.
I am glad to see others also have noticed this. Yes there are good ones but those you will not notice because they won't come close to hitting you.
It is sad this had to happen but maybe one driver will slow down because of it when they pass a bike.

Tom_E said...

Bruce, your letter certainly deserves a response. If none is received in a month, I would suggest a forwarding of your letter to the School Board.

coastdownhills said...

This is the reply to my letter. It was not an email, unless I fired one off and don't remember.

March 16, 2009
Mr. Day,
Thank you for your recent email. I have given this information to the Area Coordinator for the area you have mentioned. We will take your concerns seriously and look at ways to improve service to our community.

Thank you,

Clint Barnes
Sumner County Schools
Pupil Transportation
Safety Coordinator