Over the weekend, NBC News tweeted a horrific video from Natchez Trace in Tennessee, where a driver rams a cyclist and then immediately speeds off down the road without even tapping their brakes.

This incident is terrifying on so many levels. First and foremost, according to the man who took the video (who was another cyclist wearing a GoPro), someone behind them saw the same driver try to hit a cyclist last week. And judging by the comments people made via Twitter, some people think that's ok:

Furthermore, drivers need to share the road with cyclists even if it feels like the road was designed for high-speed driving. The Natchez Trace is a parkway that covers long distances, similar to the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia and North Carolina. Drivers may go there looking for a leisurely cruise, but that doesn't mean they abdicate their responsibilities to other road users. The website for the Natchez Trace even promotes “cycling adventures” on the 444 mile parkway.

A similar situation exists locally, with the Maryland State Highway Authority's “Bicyclists May Use Full Lane” signs, which are placed on state highways where drivers are not expecting to see cyclists on a road with high speeds or high traffic volumes.

While it's clear that most of the people who replied via Twitter don't understand the rules and risks of bicycling, a few weighed in with safety tips and reminders about the law.

Similar sentiment was shared on the videographer's original Facebook post, which has a longer version of the video:

This incident is also a good reminder of what to do if you're in a bike crash, or you witness one:

  • Stay calm.
  • Call 911.
  • Do not leave the scene. Get the driver's name, car, license plate, insurance and contact information.
  • Get contact information from witnesses.
  • Take pictures. Document as much as you can.
  • Get a police report. Get the names and badge numbers of the officers on the scene.
  • Seek medical attention.

The good news is that the cyclist is recovering from his injuries, and the Tennessean reports that the driver has been arrested.

Rachel Maisler is an avid city cyclist and advocate who enjoys exploring DC and beyond. She represents Ward 4 on the Bicycle Advisory Council and serves on the Age-Friendly DC Task Force. When she's not fighting for safe roads, Rachel is a health policy wonk. Rachel has lived inside the Beltway since 2005 and currently resides in Petworth. She also writes for Petworth News.