The cycling community in East Tennessee is reacting to video of a hit-and-run biking incident in Middle Tennessee.
Thousands of people have seen the video of a vehicle hitting a cyclist on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Williamson County and speeding off. The cyclist is expected to be okay, but the suspected driver of the vehicle is facing charges.
Brad Webb, a cyclist with KnoxVelo Cycling Club, said he and other cyclists had a close call of their own a few weeks ago on Highway 27 in Morgan County.
Video captured by one of the cyclists with Webb shows a truck driving extremely close to the bikers, narrowly missing them as it speeds past.
"That was the first one that really scared me because I kind envisioned going down in between him and that concrete barrier, and that would have been pretty ugly right there," Webb said.
Webb said an instance like this is called "buzzing" in the cycling community. It happens when a driver hits the gas or honks a horn to startle the cyclist.
"I want the law enforcement to step it up a notch and crack down on buzzing cyclists," Webb said. "It's a form of road rage."
Webb said he filed a report in Morgan County, and it is being looked into by the district attorney.
Tennessee law states that a bicycle has the legal status of a vehicle, meaning that bicyclists have full rights and responsibilities on the roadway and are subject to the regulations governing the operation of a motor vehicle.
Drivers on the road must also leave a safe distance between the vehicle and the bicycle of at least three feet when passing the bike.
"I just want to be able to hit the road and do my training with my friends, you know, health and fitness and bettering ourselves and not have to worry about somebody running us over," said Webb.
Steve Bacon, the owner of the Bike Zoo in Knoxville, has seen his own share of bike incidents over the years.
His brother was hit by a car while riding in the bike lane on the Henley Bridge last July.
"There's really no reason to either get close to them and frighten them, or to worse, run over them," Bacon said.
He encourages drivers and cyclists to know the rules of the road and respect them.
"Education is huge, people not realizing the laws," Bacon said, "and then in a lot of cases, it's implementation."
In the case of Bacon's brother, the driver in the incident was cited at the time for improper vehicle registration, no driver's license and no proof of insurance. No other charges were filed.
Bacon hopes in the future people driving on the road are patient when they see a cyclist.
"It's actually a person," he said. "It's someone's father, mother, someone's son, they're people out there."
As for those that choose to continue spooking cyclists, Bacon said they should be careful because more and more are keeping the camera rolling on the road.
"A lot of us are using cameras now so be a little bit more careful," Bacon said, "because the hit-and-runs, you may very well get caught."
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