The “race of truth” turned deadly for 57-year-old Allen Brumm, a cyclist from Foster City, California, who was hit head-on during a bike race.
Brumm and about 60 other riders were competing in a time trial near Esparto, California, in rural Yolo County when a motorist hit and killed him.
News reports claim that the driver crossed the yellow line into oncoming traffic to pass a cyclist in her lane. When she passed, she moved into Brumm’s path of travel. Brumm tried to avoid the collision by leaning his bike to the right, but the driver did not stop in time. She ran over Brumm while driving 35 miles per hour.
In a case such as this, the victim’s lawyer has a lot of investigation to do determine the extent of the driver’s liability. Was the area a passing or no-passing zone? The Three Feet for Safety Act, which took effect in September 2014, does not allow drivers to cross the double yellow line to pass. California Vehicle Code Section 21460 prohibits crossing the double yellow unless the driver is crossing at an intersection or into a driveway.
According to other race participants, the time trial course is on a flat road with few turns. However, the motorist claimed in a news report that she didn’t see the cyclist. Was she talking on her phone or texting? Did the sun’s glare obscure her vision?
Presumably, the race director marked the course with orange cones, orange “Caution: Bicycle Race Ahead” signs and/or other markings. If so, the driver should have known to watch for cyclists and to remain attentive. Was she?
Precautionary measures taken by the race director should also be looked at. In addition to caution signs and cones, did the race director have a sufficient number of volunteers monitoring the course? Was the race held at a low traffic time of day? (According to the event flyer, the first rider went off at 8 a.m., with riders starting every minute for about an hour. Rural roads don’t generally see much traffic on Sunday mornings.)
Esparto is less than 10 miles from Cache Creek Casino. Would that generate any additional traffic?
Whether the race organizer, the driver, both, or even other potential defendants are culpable, a personal injury lawyer will look at all angles to uncover potential liability. A personal injury lawyer will also make sure that the insurance companies for the culpable parties pay substantial sums to insure that the victim (or the victim’s family) receives the best possible result.
Photo by Matia M, Flickr