In a landmark bicycle-pedestrian accident case, a 37-year-old bicyclist, Chris Bucchere, has pleaded guilty to felony vehicular manslaughter after riding his bicycle recklessly and striking a an elderly pedestrian as he crossed a San Francisco street along with his wife. (FoxNews.com July 23, 2013: http://tinyurl.com/mmfzgxj).
This case may be the first in the nation, and the certainly the first for San Francisco, of a bicyclist pleading to felony manslaughter.
Bucchere reportedly had flagrantly disobeyed several laws as he rode his bicycle including running several red lights.
Sutchi Hui, was struck in a crosswalk and died several days after the accident from a traumatic brain injury.
It appears that Bucchere is going to escape any jail times and instead be sentenced to 3 years probation and 1000 community service hours. He had claimed that he ran through the intersection on a yellow light and that he was unable to stop in time. However, another bicyclist apparently stopped at the intersection that Bucchere ran through. Read “Bicyclist faces felony vehicular homicide charges after fatal accident”
San Franciso District Attorney George Gascón was pleased with the vehicular manslaughter conviction saying, ” I think it was important to get a felony conviction because the conduct warranted it. On the other hand, he is a first-time offender, and we want to give him a chance for rehabilitation and redemption.”
Many people writing in on newspaper forums were irate at what they said was slap on the wrist for Bucchere, who is a software engineer. Some people called for a jail sentence because of Bucchere’s reckless conduct and that he should be held accountable in the same manner that drivers of cars are.
In most cases of bicycle accidents that we read about, it is the bicyclist who is injured. However, bicyclists do hit pedestrians. In 2010, an 83-year-old woman from Renton was struck by a bicyclist as she walked on the Cedar River Trail. In this accident, the woman struck her head and died later at a hospital. In active bicycling communities like San Francisco, several pedestrians are struck and killed by bicyclists every year.
Washington state vehicle code RCW 46.61 provides that bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. And must follow prevailing speed limits and stop at signals and signs.
This information is provided by Seattle Car Accident Lawyer blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We represent people who have been seriously injured in bicycle and motor vehicle accidents and the family of those who have been killed. We work hard to obtain the compensation that accident victims deserve to cover their medical costs, loss of wages and for pain and suffring.