Tommy Tindal was riding his bike along local highway S.C. 441 in Sumter, South Carolina (SC) when a box truck drove by and sideswiped him. Mr. Tindal suffered traumatic head injuries along with other serious injuries leading to his death, according to My deepest condolences go out to Mr. Tindal’s friends and family.

It’s a tenuous relationship between bicyclists and automobile drivers when sharing the road. I’ve witnessed numerous vehicles come close to swiping bicyclists on busy roads. In 2008, 716 bicyclists were involved in fatal traffic accidents and 52,000 suffered injuries in bicycle-vehicle crashes, a 21 percent increase from 2007. There seems to be this mentality by auto operators that someone riding on a bicycle shouldn’t even be near a road occupied by automobiles. 

Regardless, a new set of bicycle safety laws were passed in 2008 in South Carolina which provided more protections to bicyclists. A key statute that may come into play in the tragic accident involving Mr. Tindal is the“Safe Operating Distance” statute in section 56-5-3435  which states:

“A driver of a motor vehicle must at all times maintain a safe operating distance between the motor vehicle and a bicycle.”

If the box truck driver violated this statute, this tragic crash could be categorized as a wrongful death.