The city of Chattanooga bears a significant portion of the responsibility for the tragic loss of David Meek on Friday morning. The law states that vehicles must allow for a minimum of three feet when passing a bike. Clearly, this was not the case on Friday morning and the loss is all the more shocking and tragic because David was a conscientious and law abiding cyclist. It isn't hard to see why this accident happened, beyond whatever level of attentiveness the driver of the van exercised. There are few roads in Chattanooga that are designed for cyclists--the last two miles of St. Elmo Avenue is the only section that come to mind off hand. Here cyclists and cars can coexist with a minimum danger to the cyclist, but this is certainly not enough.
The city must correct its lack of bike lanes and green ways if it wants to be a "green" and "outdoor enthusiast" city. Take a look at a city like Boulder, Colorado where cyclists are far safer because of the extensive network of bike lanes and green ways, the enforcement of the laws, and the awareness and appreciation of cyclists as fellow citizens rather than hindrances.
We hope that the loss of David's life serves as an incentive for the city to work to educate those in vehicles about cyclist's rights and an impetus for the city and its citizens to begin work on a network of bike lanes and green ways (like St. Elmo Ave. and the River Walk) that will lead to more commuting and exercise (greater health and enjoyment of life) in the city.
David advocated life. He was one of the rarest, kindest, gentlest, and most generous people either of us have ever met. Every moment was an occasion for joy for David and for those around him. His presence in our lives was without equal and we feel honored to have known him. David will be missed by many because he touched so many people with his spirit.