Police say Michele Chesnut, 53, was riding her bicycle south on Highway 129 about two-thirds of a mile south of the entrance to DeSoto Falls Recreation Area around 4:30 p.m. when the accident occurred.
A Ford Explorer traveling north crossed the center line in a curve and struck Chesnut, police said. The vehicle then veered back across the highway, where is struck an embankment and overturned.
The driver of the vehicle, Lamrae Winkler, 40, of Sautee Nacoochee, was taken to Chestatee Regional hospital for observation following the accident, but police said she did not appear to suffer any serious injuries.
A Georgia State Patrol Specialized Collision Reconstruction Team is investigating the accident, a spokesman said.
No charges have been filed in connection with the incident pending the outcome of the investigation.
Traffic was backed up for more than two hours Friday afternoon due to the accident.
Though there are several incidents involving bicycles and motorized vehicles reported each year in Lumpkin County, this is believed to be the first such fatality in the last nine years or so, said Lt. Wesley Burnett of the Lumpkin County Sheriff’s office.
He said the most common complaints from drivers are about bicyclists riding abreast instead of single file and impeding the flow of traffic.
Bicyclists, in turn, complain of aggressive drivers.
“Both need to use caution,” Burnett said. “We need to share the roadway. Bicyclists have as much right to be on the roadway as vehicles.”
According to the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the number of bicycle fatalities in Georgia increased from 13 in 2011 to 19 last year.
In 2009, Georgia ranked 8th among states with the most bicycle fatalities.
In 2011, the state legislature passed a new law requiring motor vehicles to stay at least three feet from a bicycle and bicyclists when passing. Those riding bicycles are required to maintain single file.
Chesnut obtained her pharmacy degree from Auburn University in 1982 and was an active member of the Cumming First United Methodist Church, focusing her efforts on the food pantry.
She worked at Walmart Pharmacy for over 23 years and had worked as a pharmacist at Goodson Drugs in Cumming.