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cadence

Manslaughter or an accident

The story of a San Francisco cyclist who plowed into a pedestrian on March 29 and then apparently took to a bicycle blog forum to tell his side of the story is blowing up on the Web.

Chris Bucchere allegedly struck 71-year-old Sutchi Hui—who later died—at a busy San Francisco intersection, and then identified himself as the rider in the crash on a public Google group for the Mission Cycling Club .

The incident is making waves on the blog-o-sphere as readers weigh in on the cyclist's story. The post, which has since been removed from the forum, read in part, "The light turned yellow as I was approaching the intersection, but I was already way too committed to stop. The light turned red as I was cruising through the middle of the intersection and then, almost instantly, the southern crosswalk on Market and Castro filled up with people coming from both directions, … so, in a nutshell, blammo."

The rider goes on, "Apparently I hit a 71-year-old male pedestrian and he ended up in the ICU with pretty serious head injuries. I really hope he ends up OK."

Hui died, but the medical examiner's report has not yet been released. In a statement to Yahoo News, the spokeswoman for the San Francisco District Attorney, Stephanie Ong Stillman, noted that the office is keeping an eye on the case, although no charges have been filed. Stillman emphasized, "We take pedestrian traffic fatalities very, very seriously."

Apparently so do many readers of blog forums, who weighed in on Bucchere's alleged actions. One biker wrote on SFist:

"It takes just one (bleeping) jerk like Chris to give a bad name to the countless other bikers whom obey laws and ride safely." Another added, speaking directly to Bucchere, "Your irresponsibility injured (and ultimately killed) a man and you took to the Internet to tell your story? Yeah, you deserve jail time."

Kevin LaKritz, a founder of Mission Cycling Club, learned of the incident through the public post, and told Yahoo News, "It's terrible, our thoughts go out to the family." LaKritz said of the post , "Everyone was shocked and horrified when they read it. It's not what Mission Cycling is about. It's about creating a community through cycling." He added, "We don't condone reckless riding in any way."

Bicycling is a popular way to get around San Francisco, and while bike accidents that lead to pedestrian fatalities are rare, this is now the second incident to make headlines this year. Recently, 23-year-old Randolph Ang pled guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for running a red light and hitting a 68-year-old pedestrian who also died.

The San Francisco Bay Guardian reports that Bucchere was a member of the mobile app strava.com, which tracks cyclist data and clocked the biker riding 35 miles per hour at the time of the incident.

In a statement on its website, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Executive Director Leah Shahum denounced bad behavior on two wheels or four: "While we recognize that this case is still under investigation, we are deeply troubled by the just-released online account of the incident."

She added,"As advocates working for safer streets, we condemn reckless behavior—whether on a bicycle or in a car. Those who put others in danger should be held accountable for their actions."

Bucchere's Twitter, LinkedIn and website accounts are gone. But the social media trail that's left, if it checks out, won't exactly help Bucchere's case.

http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/upsho...cident-makes-waves-181534779.html
Boogerd_Fan

Having done exactly the same thing in 2007 as he did (running an orange-turning-red traffic light) and ploughing into a woman breaking her nose... no sympathy here. It's the adrenalin pumping and the confidence of feeling above the law of the road, that gets cyclists into these situations. I'm a lot more careful now when approaching lights that have been green for the time i was approaching... not to repeat the same move.

Wouldn't like to call it - at what point does this type of accident turn into something more malicious along the lines of criminal charges like manslaughter? Does it mean they believe he intentionally drove into the pedestrian? Or better put - did not do his best to change line to avoid the collision etc?
berck

If he really did enter the intersection on a yellow, they can't file charges against him. The onus on him, or the city, will be to show whether he did or not. Had this been a car that got through the yellow, people wouldn't have left the curb until it passed. They just don't look for bikers, unfortunately.

Here in California, you have a responsibility to make sure the intersection is clear before you proceed. Just because you have the right to proceed, doesn't mean its safe to do so. That also doesn't mean that if a person runs a red light, they are off the hook. The red light runner gets the majority of the blame.
berck

Boogerd_Fan wrote:
Having done exactly the same thing in 2007 as he did (running an orange-turning-red traffic light) and ploughing into a woman breaking her nose... no sympathy here. It's the adrenalin pumping and the confidence of feeling above the law of the road, that gets cyclists into these situations. I'm a lot more careful now when approaching lights that have been green for the time i was approaching... not to repeat the same move.

Wouldn't like to call it - at what point does this type of accident turn into something more malicious along the lines of criminal charges like manslaughter? Does it mean they believe he intentionally drove into the pedestrian? Or better put - did not do his best to change line to avoid the collision etc?


When I was reading this bikers story yesterday, you came to my mind. Its all over the news here, TV, radio and internet.
Beasley

Involuntary manslaughter wouldn't be out of the question. No malice (explicit or implied) or intentionality, but possible criminal negligence.

It depends what a jury would determine: if we accept he contravened his duty of care to other road users, was he careless or was he reckless?
berck

Witnesses have been coming forward stating that they saw the cyclist running red lights and stop signs just prior to the fatal accident.
berck

Seems video footage doesn't agree with the riders story...

Fatal crash video may contradict bicyclist
MAILLOT JAUNE

Haven't watch video yet, but it is a tough call to make based on the info that I've read, although I think it's well out of order to post his thoughts on the internet. Maybe it's a sign of the times, but surely he should just have gone straight to the police to explain his actions instead of, in effect, canvassing support on the internet first??????? Too many Court Cases are now clouded by what we read about them in the media and on the web. Most people have already decided whether they should be convicted or not even before the case has gone to court. Jurys are supposed to be impartial but how can that happen if they have read so many facts prior to the Court Case. Maybe we  should start the route of professional Jury's.

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