Cyclists who fly through heavily trafficked or populated areas often present risks to pedestrians. A March 9 article in the Los Angeles Times recounts how Cyclist Chris Bucchere, 36, was traveling at high speed through the streets of San Francisco on March 29, 2012. He entered a busy intersection during rush hour and struck pedestrian Sutchi Hui, 71. Hui died from head trauma injuries four days later. Superior Court Judge Andrew Y.S. Cheng ruled on Thursday that Bucchere should face a rare, single count of felony vehicular manslaughter.
One reason why the manslaughter charge applies is that Bucchere reached speeds of 30 miles per hour as he road southbound on Castro Street in San Francisco. He ran two stoplights and a stop sign before he entered the Market Street intersection. Hui was crossing Castro Street when Bucchere struck him. According to a March 7 SF Examiner article, video surveillance cameras captured the incident and witnesses stated that Bucchere did not even slow down before the collision.
The defense claims that the video clears Bucchere as it shows him entering the intersection before the light turned red. Another claim is that pedestrians entered the intersection too soon.
San Francisco District Attorney Dist. Atty. George Gascon said, "Today the judge reaffirmed our decision to charge this case as a felony. I hope this case serves as a reminder to all that there are life-altering consequences to not following the rules of the road."
Bucchere has an extensive cycling history and even taught bicycle safety classes. In that sense, he clearly knew how to ride safely and properly. He also showed a "callous disregard" for his victim when he went to a Google Group called Mission Cycling AM very soon after the collision. He expressed more grief over his helmet than remorse for hitting Hui. Bucchere jokingly referred to his helmet in this statement,
“In closing, I want to dedicate this story to my late helmet. She died in heroic fashion today as my head slammed into the tarmac... may she die knowing that because she committed the ultimate sacrifice, her rider can live on and ride on. Can I get an amen? Amen.”
Referring to Hui, he wrote, “I really hope he ends up OK.”