February 24, 2014

UPDATE: Athens Cyclist Killed by Car

Tobias Smith.jpg

Tobias Smith. Photo credit: BikeAthens via Facebook.

Tobias Antwon Smith, 19, of Evans Street, was killed on his bicycle Saturday, becoming the second cyclist in a little more than a week to be hit by a car.

Smith was riding west on Winterville Road near Hancock Road at about 7:20 p.m. without any lights or reflectors, according to Athens-Clarke County police. A driver who came up behind him saw him suddenly and swerved to avoid him, but hit him anyway, police said. Smith was taken to Athens Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

UPDATE: According to BikeAthens Executive Director Tyler Dewey, one of the organization's bike recycling program shop managers examined Smith's bike, and in contrast to the police report, it did have a front light, a mount for a rear light, pedal reflectors and reflective stickers, although the rear light itself was missing and the stickers may only have been visible from the side.

The police's "failure to mention the steps Tobias took to increase his visibility makes it seem that he was more irresponsible than he was," Dewey wrote in an email. "It also glosses over driver behavior that played a role in crash and the lack of a shoulder that left Tobias little room to avoid a car coming up from behind."

BikeAthens posted a tribute to Smith on its Facebook page:

Over the weekend we lost a really great friend when Tobias Smith passed away after a bicycle/auto accident. Tobias was a kind, compassionate, respectful young man that was a real pleasure to see in the shop. He was so eager to learn and very willing to help out whenever needed, and his quick smile could brighten up any day. More importantly, he was a good kid and a fast friend. He was always quick to ask how we were doing, and remembered all the details of our lives. We were all so happy for him when he told us that he had started helping out at Sunshine Cycles! 

We feel really fortunate to have been able to have Tobias in our lives for the past few years, and we hope that he knew how much we cared about him. This news has been devastating. We're really going to miss him. Rest in peace Tobias.

A 33-year-old female cyclist was hit by a car and injured at 4:30 a.m. Feb. 14 while riding northbound on King Avenue near Hart Avenue, according to police.