Although the widely reported accident took place almost a year ago, the San Francisco cyclist who collided with 71-year-old Sutchi Hui on March 29, 2012 has recently been order to stand trial on a felony vehicular manslaughter charge.
The accident occurred at the intersection of Castro and Market streets when cyclist Chris Bucchere collided with Hui as he entered the crosswalk.
Details surrounding the collision are being contested by Bucchere’s attorney, who insists his client had “the right of way” and Hui entered the crosswalk before the “walk” sign was illuminated. However, witnesses say they saw Bucchere “run two lights and a stop sign at speeds over 30 mph before hitting Hui.”
Regardless of the outcome, it certainly sends a strong message that the state has chosen to hold Bucchere accountable for his actions rather than letting him off with a slap on the wrist. District Attorney George Gascon was quoted in the LA Times as saying, “I hope this case serves as a reminder to all that there are life-altering consequences to not following the rules of the road.”
As we’ve written about before, there’s a fine line between enforcement and education when it comes to ensuring cyclists are riding in a responsible fashion. However, in this particular instance–if Bucchere was riding as recklessly as witnesses say–there’s no reason he should be treated with any less severity than would be given a motorist who committed the same crime.
According to Gascon, this may be the first instance of a cyclist being charged with felony manslaughter after colliding with a pedestrian, and he says the judge’s recent upholding of the charge proves “there are real consequences for bad behavior and not following the traffic rules.”
Bucchere will be back in court on March 21st for a formal arraignment.