Safety on Cyclists' Minds
Eyewitness News Photographer
HAMILTON COUNTY (WRCB) - Safety is always on the minds of local cyclists. Experienced riders claim some drivers simply refuse to share the road.
"I've seen a variety of injuries involving cyclists," said Mark Gilbert
Tuesday Physician Mark Gilbert claims someone shot at him with a paintball gun while cycling.
"I felt my backside where I'd been shot, and realized with orange paint that I'd been shot with a paintball gun. And I thought 'wow, that's ridiculous,'" said Gilbert.
Fortunately Gilbert maintained control of his bike, but he is not the only cyclist to encounter hostile drivers. Sunday Ed Rusk claims he was brushed by a passing truck on Birchwood Pike.
"Move over, you've got to move over buddy," said Rusk. "Then he proceeds to move over, but in the opposite direction. He moves over on me pulling a trailer with his SUV and the trailer hits me."
According to Tennessee law: "when overtaking and passing a bicycle proceeding in the same direction on the roadway, shall leave a safe distance between the motor vehicle and the bicycle of not less than three feet..."
But the law wasn't enough to save the life of prominent cyclist David Meek earlier this month. Meek was killed on Ashland Terrace when his saddle bag became caught on a passing truck.
As for Gilbert and Rusk, both men tell Eyewitness News they'll continue cycling. Except this time when they get on the road they'll proceed with a lot more caution.
"As I was leaving the scene of the accident I could definitely tell that every time a car passed I got nervous, but I know very well that David Meek would not want us to stop cycling," said Rusk.
Gilbert was able to identify the driver who struck him with a paintball. The Hamilton County Sheriff's Department is currently investigating the incident. Rusk tells Eyewitness News, the officer at the scene told him he wasn't aware of the "three foot law" until the death of David Meek March 6.