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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(03-07) 12:18 PST SAN FRANCISCO -- The bicyclist who struck and killed a pedestrian in San Francisco's Castro neighborhood last year must stand trial on felony vehicular manslaughter charges, a judge ruled Thursday.
Chris Bucchere cried softly during the final argument of his preliminary hearing when his attorney described him as a good person and a family man who gives back to his community.
Bucchere, a 36-year-old San Francisco resident, was riding his bicycle south on Castro Street during morning rush hour last March 29 when he collided with Sutchi Hui, 71, of San Francisco, who was crossing in the south crosswalk along Market Street with his wife. Hui died of his injuries four days later.
After Superior Court Judge Andrew Cheng issued his ruling, Bucchere, who is free on bail, strode quickly out of the courtroom and did not speak. His attorney, Ted Cassman, declined to comment.
Cassman sought unsuccessfully to have the charge reduced to a misdemeanor.
During the first day of the preliminary hearing Wednesday, prosecutor Omid Talai called several witnesses who described seeing Bucchere speeding through red lights and stop signs before arriving at Market. He did not appear to slow down as he approached the crosswalk, they testified.
Both sides debated, down to the second, the moment when the light turned red and Bucchere entered the intersection. A traffic expert and witness for the prosecution, Michael Mahoney, said his analysis showed the light was red when Bucchere crossed the north crosswalk. The defense disagreed, citing a traffic light that is dimly visible in footage shot by a surveillance camera at the intersection.
The defense also said several pedestrians, including Hui, had entered the crosswalk before the walk sign was illuminated and should have yielded to traffic.
Bucchere "had the right of way," Cassman said. "The pedestrians did not."
Cassman also cited Bucchere's clean criminal and driving records and history of bicycle safety - he taught cycling safety classes, Cassman said - as reasons the judge should reduce the charge.
Cheng did not agree, though he said he hoped the parties would reach a resolution privately before the March 21 trial. He said Bucchere has strong potential to give back to the community and will "carry this mistake the rest of his life."
District Attorney George Gascón said he was "very pleased" with the judge's ruling and called Bucchere's conduct "really egregious."
"His need for speed ... led to the death of a person," Gascón said.
Ellen Huet is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. E-mail: [email protected] Twitter: @ellenhuet

Read more: SF bicyclist to be tried for manslaughter - SFGate
 

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Surprised the article did not mention Strava. Bucchere is thought to have been riding at unsafe speeds in an attempt to get KoM on a Strava segment.

Also interesting is the thought that posting segments on Strava creates a record of riders running stop signs/red lights which can be used against them in court later.

Road Rights- Suing Strava
 
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Are you saying that if a car were to run a red light and kill a pedestrian, the driver would be let off without being charged?
From what I'd read about this case earlier, the cyclist was both:

A) going 10mph over the speed limit
B) entered the intersection *just as* the light was turning from yellow to red

Green light / walk light for the cross street should have a delay equal to the amount of time it would take a vehicle going slightly under the speed limit to clear the intersection if they entered at the end of the yellow light.

That means the pedestrians must have began walking early.


Change the scenario to one where a car accelerates to 10mph above limit to beat a yellow (I see this happen all the time), makes it to the limit line just as the light is turning. Then, pedestrian steps out in front the same instant as the car is crossing the crosswalk. My guess is the driver is given a speeding ticket and no criminal charges. If the driver were seen running an earlier red light earlier he might be given a misdimeanor reckless driving that would get pled down to a slap on the wrist at most.

only conceivable difference is the pedestrian would likely be blamed in the latter case for stepping in front of a moving car because they should be expected to see / hear the car coming. The pedestrian's family probably couldn't win any damages in civil court for wrongful death on that basis, either.



If a motorcyclist were to do it, outcome would likely be somewhere in the middle.
 

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Which is worse in term of punishment?
Felony manslaughter or vehicular manslaughter?

It's really a sad situation that this cyclist was also a bicycle instructor. Should have known better.

Life is going to suck for him now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
From what I'd read about this case earlier, the cyclist was both:

A) going 10mph over the speed limit
B) entered the intersection *just as* the light was turning from yellow to red

Green light / walk light for the cross street should have a delay equal to the amount of time it would take a vehicle going slightly under the speed limit to clear the intersection if they entered at the end of the yellow light.

That means the pedestrians must have began walking early.


Change the scenario to one where a car accelerates to 10mph above limit to beat a yellow (I see this happen all the time), makes it to the limit line just as the light is turning. Then, pedestrian steps out in front the same instant as the car is crossing the crosswalk. My guess is the driver is given a speeding ticket and no criminal charges. If the driver were seen running an earlier red light earlier he might be given a misdimeanor reckless driving that would get pled down to a slap on the wrist at most.

only conceivable difference is the pedestrian would likely be blamed in the latter case for stepping in front of a moving car because they should be expected to see / hear the car coming. The pedestrian's family probably couldn't win any damages in civil court for wrongful death on that basis, either.



If a motorcyclist were to do it, outcome would likely be somewhere in the middle.
Wow...got some anger there don't ya. So, speaking as a member of the SF public safety community for decades and a SF cyclist the reason, in part, this gentlemen was charged as a felony is the DA reasonably believes he can demonstrate reckless behavior prior to the collision. Couple that with riding above the speed limit and through a red light, he was charged as a felony. His comments posted online after the event didn't help. Any driver in SF in similar circumstances would have been charged the same.

I was directly involved in the fatal bike/pedestrian event that occurred approximately 1 year prior to this incident. In that incident even though it was clearly established the cyclist ran the red, there weren't the additional factors present in this one and therefore that person was only charged, and plead, to a misdemeanor.

So to quote from a great movie "lighten up Francis."
 

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I don't know about SF, but in New York if you kill a cyclist or pedestrian you'll not be charged for any more than a minor traffic violation. So far this year 42 people have been killed by drivers and none have been found at fault.

Streetsblog New York City

If the cyclist in SF was riding recklessly, over the speed limit, and ran a red light then you should be prosecuted.
 

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Wow...got some anger there don't ya. So, speaking as a member of the SF public safety community for decades and a SF cyclist the reason, in part, this gentlemen was charged as a felony is the DA reasonably believes he can demonstrate reckless behavior prior to the collision. Couple that with riding above the speed limit and through a red light, he was charged as a felony. His comments posted online after the event didn't help. Any driver in SF in similar circumstances would have been charged the same.

I was directly involved in the fatal bike/pedestrian event that occurred approximately 1 year prior to this incident. In that incident even though it was clearly established the cyclist ran the red, there weren't the additional factors present in this one and therefore that person was only charged, and plead, to a misdemeanor.

So to quote from a great movie "lighten up Francis."
The prosecuter could not care less about, "reckless behavior prior to the collision". All he cares about is if he can win. A US jury will convict a cyclist; they will not convict an automobile driver.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Just the other week someone posted about the cyclist that was killed by the trucker when the truck intentionally side swiped him and he didn't even get indicted.
So you have the facts of the case I bet? While I don't have them all, I have many. The big problem here was a road design flaw. There is a dedicated bike lane that ends at a bulb out for a pedestrian crosswalk then resumes. The road is the major thoroughfare in the area and traffic is highly congested. The accident took place at the bulb out. The cyclist went under the rear wheels. It is theorized she got nervous about the truck so close and inadvertently went under the wheels trying to avoid him. Cyclists who know the area, like me, often turn off before this area and use other parallel streets. The driver didn't intentionally sideswipe her.
So how about we get our facts straight before we start making these statements.
 

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I don't think this cyclist intentionally meant to hit the pedestrian either. The truck driver in the case above has a duty not to pass in a negligent way. Even with your explaination of the facts he was still committing a traffic offense. the fact that you avoid the intersection also has no bearing on the case. the cyclist was within her righs to be there and the driver of the truck was negligent.

generally unless there is alcohol or drugs involed a felony is not charged. Here in Illinois a couple of years ago there was a highly publicized case involving a 17 year old girl with several speeding tickets who hit and killed a cyclist on the shoulder. she was changing the picture on her cell phone at the time. Not even a misdemeanor charge. The champaign prosecutor issued a statement that she did not think she could prove gross negligence. There are double standards.

Someone from San Francisco may be able to tell us if the prosecuter has filed similar charges against drivers committing a traffic violation when they hit a cyclists?
 

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I don't think this cyclist intentionally meant to hit the pedestrian either. The truck driver in the case above has a duty not to pass in a negligent way. Even with your explaination of the facts he was still committing a traffic offense. the fact that you avoid the intersection also has no bearing on the case. the cyclist was within her righs to be there and the driver of the truck was negligent.

generally unless there is alcohol or drugs involed a felony is not charged. Here in Illinois a couple of years ago there was a highly publicized case involving a 17 year old girl with several speeding tickets who hit and killed a cyclist on the shoulder. she was changing the picture on her cell phone at the time. Not even a misdemeanor charge. The champaign prosecutor issued a statement that she did not think she could prove gross negligence. There are double standards.

Someone from San Francisco may be able to tell us if the prosecuter has filed similar charges against drivers committing a traffic violation when they hit a cyclists?
It's disgusting that it is seemingly open season on cyclists when hit by cars, and that the drivers seem to go unpunished, but a car hitting a cyclist is not the same as a car or bicycle hitting a pedestrian.
 

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If that were the case, he'd be let off without being charged. And the article about the incident would mention that the pedestrian wasn't wearing a helmet.
you must spread some Reputation around before giving it to Love Commander again
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
It's disgusting that it is seemingly open season on cyclists when hit by cars, and that the drivers seem to go unpunished, but a car hitting a cyclist is not the same as a car or bicycle hitting a pedestrian.
Based on all available information, and I have spoke with some of the people directly involved, the last I heard the working theory is the driver did not do anything wrong, but that the cyclist got nervous about the truck near her and inadvertently went under the wheels. To the best of all available info, physical and witnesses, the driver did nothing wrong.
I believe the these problems are regional. In SF the DA will prosecute people who criminally injure cyclists.

SF Driver Arrested On DUI After Bicyclist Struck | NBC Bay Area

These incidents I don't have knowledge of but a google search turns up here in Northern California.

Lawyer arrested in Dublin cyclist's hit-run death - SFGate
Teen Driver Arrested After SUV Hits 3 Cyclists In Concord, Killing 2 « CBS San Francisco
https://www.baycitizen.org/blogs/pulse-of-the-bay/81-year-old-man-arrested-cyclist-road/

Maybe some people should take a look at their prejudices and look at incidents individually before passing judgement. And this is coming from someone who has been hit by 2 at fault drivers in SF.
 
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