A pair of cyclists participating in a charity ride to benefit law enforcement chaplaincy were apparently sideswiped by the driver of a 2004 Chevrolet dualie pickup truck who was passing a grape truck from the opposite direction. The second cyclist, 55-year-old Amy Suyama of Sebastopol, California, perished from her injuries in the crash. According to the Sonoma Press Democrat, the CHP Public Information Officer, Sgt. Jason Bahlman, said the driver of the truck “was legally passing in the sense that he was allowed to do so.” One can only hope this statement is grossly out of context.
The cyclists were northbound on Eastside Road in rural Sonoma County; the pickup driver was southbound when he passed the produce truck on the narrow road. I’m pretty sure CVC 21751 is in the little traffic code pocket guide issued to all CHP officers, but here it is for quick reference.
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.
With my sincere condolences to all of those involved.
- CHP Dispatch Log: Eastside Rd / Windsor River Rd, Santa Rosa – Sep 10 2016 11:11AM.
- SF Chronicle: “Sebastopol woman killed in bicycle accident near Windsor”
- Press Democrat: “Boyfriend blames pickup in Sebastopol woman’s cycling death”
- Online discussion at Google Plus Bike Commuting community.