I’ve been kicking this around in my head for a few days trying to come to some sort of conclusion as to why a grand jury refused to indict a truck driver for a self-evident misdemeanor crime. Other people have, too.
Facts are that an experienced cyclist using an “obnoxiously bright rear flashing light” in broad daylight in clear weather was riding along when a box truck came alongside, caught him with something, maybe a bumper nobody knows, and flung him beneath the wheels. The TN laws are the usual FTR and the 3 foot law, but the 3 foot rule is considered “new” since it has only been in effect for two years.
So, taking the facts and applying the law, I have to take the investigator at his word [“could have seen the bike, but it is not likely that he should have seen the bike.”] and since, according to him, there is no legal obligation to see a cyclist, one can’t be held responsible for not giving 3 feet of distance for what should not be seen. I say this because it would seem to me that catching a cyclist with something, whether that would be a mirror, a bumper or whatever would be self evident that a proper (never mind 3 feet) distance was not being kept.
The investigator’s logic, backed up by the prosecutor, eliminates cycling on any street, whether that be the curb hugging or the Vehicular Cycling method, since the driver can legally ignore the cyclist and a smack from behind would be permissible by just claiming the cyclist couldn’t be seen and it is not likely the cyclist “should” be seen. One law enforcement official mentioned that he didn’t have a vest.
Afterwards, the sheriff must have been taking some heat because he promises to start enforcing the new 3 foot law after it was discovered that not a single citation has been written enforcing it since the law was created. Excatly how to enforce it, is another matter. You have to read the article to see what he is considering.
Lots of links if you are interested. Maybe you can glean something I missed.