It always makes me very sad when a bicyclist is out enjoying a country road or their ride to work and is run over by a speeding car. Sharon Bayler was riding just north of Taft, TN on state highway 274. She was "sweeping" with a group of bicyclists. For those of you that don’t know what sweeping is, someone intentionally rides last and makes sure none of the beginners get in trouble or lost. It’s a very noble thing to do. And I imagine Sharon was taking it eas. y because her husband died of a heart attack while riding his bike a month before.
Well, Sharon was taking up the rear, sweeping, when a truck ran her down and killed her. The news article claimed the driver couldn’t see her because of the shadows and the investigator determined it was a no-fault accident. Others suggested she was swerving to avoid a dead snake in the road, even though her body was lying near the snake after flying 167 feet after impact before coming to rest.
The sober driver always one of two excuses:
1. "Sorry I Didn’t See You" – also known as SIDSY. In England, it’s "Sorry, I Didn’t See You Mate." This usually passes for Grand Juries, DA’s, the general public and even some advocates.
2. "Single Witness Suicide Swerve." The driver, alone, is supposedly safely passing the bicyclist when he or she suddenly swerves out in front of the car in an apparent successful suicide attempt. There’s only one living witness – the driver.
What do I call it? I think most of these are the real truth:
1. "Sorry, I wasn’t paying attention."
2. "Sorry, I haven’t had enough sleep."
3. "Sorry, I was talking on my phone or whatever."
4. "Sorry, I’ve been driving this road for 20 years, I do it NASCAR style in a daydreaming daze, looking to shave seconds off my trip into the country."
Bicyclists generally believe that if they’re riding legally as valid roadway users and they’re run over and killed, justice will be served and someone will be punished. That’s not always the case. But the justice system must work for everyone – justice must be served. As a volunteer for an advocacy organization, there are things we can do, and we are doing.
1. Follow up with the District Attorney
2. Refer the DA to other DA’s with similar circumstances.
3. Use the event to demonstrate that drivers need to take care and watch for bicycles, with caution not to make bicycling out to be dangerous.
I’m riding in the Ride of Silence this Wednesday, May 19 in Nashville to honor those injured or killed while riding a bicycle. I’m going to be riding for Sharon Bayler.
I know from what I’ve read that she died doing something she loved (cycling), helping others enjoy the sport that was so dear to her. My sincerest condolences to Sharon’s friends and family.
Please everyone – bicycling is still not dangerous. Keep riding your bike.