Allen Brumm was participating in an open road time trial Sunday morning when he was hit head-on by the 35 year old driver of a car who had changed lanes to pass on County Road 19, a rural two-lane road in Yolo County, California west of Sacramento. As you can see from the Google Streetview near the collision location, you can see almost to the horizon on this road.
According to CBS Sacramento:
A bicycle race time trial turned tragic Sunday when a cyclist was hit and killed on the route by a driver who cops say was obeying the law.
[CHP Sgt. Andy Hill] says the driver was following the “move over law” for bicycles when she went around one cyclist on her side of the road, but didn’t see Brumm in front of her.
Did you catch that? Sgt Hill says the 3 foot passing law is to blame. I hope this is just media misquote of what Hill might have really said.
At the very least, the driver could (and probably should) be cited for violating CVC 21751, which requires the passing driver to wait for the oncoming lane to be “free of oncoming traffic.” We’re required to slow and wait until it is safe to pass.
Passing Without Sufficient Clearance 21751. On a two-lane highway, no vehicle shall be driven to the left side of the center of the roadway in overtaking and passing another vehicle proceeding in the same direction unless the left side is clearly visible and free of oncoming traffic for a sufficient distance ahead to permit such overtaking and passing to be completely made without interfering with the safe operation of any vehicle approaching from the opposite direction.
The Sac Bee article on this collision apparently reveals more blatant law enforcement ignorance on traffic law when Sgt Hill places some of the blame on Blumm for failing to ride in the soft shoulder when he was hit head-on.
Cyclists are required to ride as far to the right as possible, said [CHP Sgt Hill].
California’s far right law is CVC 21202, which applies only in the presence of other, faster traffic traveling in the same direction. Excluding the long list of exceptions that allow cyclists to “take the lane” where necessary, the law says:
Operation on Roadway 21202. (a) Any person operating a bicycle upon a roadway at a speed less than the normal speed of traffic moving in the same direction at that time shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb or edge of the roadway….
With sincere condolences to Mr. Brumm’s colleagues, friends and family. The CHP incident log can be found here.