The accident happened in pre-dawn dark and the rider was wearing dark clothing and had been traveling on the wrong (Westbound) side of the road. According to the driver of the pick up, the cyclist swerved into the Eastbound lane just prior to the collision and he tried, unsuccessfully to swerve to avoid the rider.
The rider was on his way to work at a Waffle House Restaurant and his wife was following on another bike but was lagging a half mile back due to leg pain. She arrived at the tragic scene and lay beside the decedent begging him not to leave her.
The police were able to corroborate the driver's account that the cyclist made a practice of traveling in the wrong lane and moving right when oncoming traffic approached by the wife's statement. Another witness backed the driver's story that he swerved to avoid something and then saw the cyclist "flying off the bike."
As a bicycling advocate and safety guy, I was concerned that the driver could have just made up the "suicide swerve" account which has been widely used to clear drivers nationwide who may really have just hit a legally riding cyclist from behind due to being inattentive. Here, however, I am satisfied that the very poor and illegal practices of the cyclist in traveling in the wrong lane, failing to check over his shoulder before merging right, and not having required lighting were the main reason for this tragic accident.
Unfortunately, I believe riders in this victim's situation are just trying to get to work to make a living and do not have the time or interest or resources to learn how to be safe with bicycle transportation. I wish they would at least learn that the rules are essentially the same as for drivers of cars. My heart goes out to those he leaves behind. He was a veteran and was well regarded by those who served in his unit.
My information is based on news accounts and the accident report.