We’ve all seen a cyclist like Chris Bucchere. You know the type: dressed in faux Lance Armstrong spandex, displaying contemptuous disregard for everyone else on the road. Bucchere, a San Francisco computer geek, is America’s first cyclist convicted of vehicular homicide, after he blew through three lights, a crosswalk, and an elderly San Bruno man whom he maimed in front of his wife.
Bucchere then went to an online forum of fellow we-own-the-road bicycle weenies, and typed up pretty much the same kind of contempt for his victim. What did he learn from the incident? That he should always wear a helmet, or he might get hurt. After being told how bad that looked, he went back and added a lame: “hope he ends up OK.” He didn’t; he lingered for four days and died. Bucchere, hoist by his own heartless post, his own reckless riding, and offered a tempting plea deal, pled guilty to vehicular homicide and will be sentenced — the prosecution is asking only for probation — in August.
A cyclist has pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter after running down a 71-year-old pedestrian in what San Francisco’s top prosecutor said appeared to be the first conviction of its kind in the US.
Under the unusual plea deal last week, Chris Bucchere, 37, would not serve any jail time but would be sentenced to three years probation and 1,000 hours of community service….
Bucchere, a software engineer from San Francisco had been riding recklessly and had run three red lights when he struck Hui as he and his wife crossed a street in the Castro district of San Francisco on 29 March 2012, prosecutors said.
Hui died four days later from his injuries.
Apart from the felony rap — which may yet be reduced to a misdemeanor by one of California’s weak-as-water judges — Buccere got off remarkably lightly, with probation and community service. (Given what we’ve seen of his character already, he’ll find some way to weasel out of that). He was going over 35 in a 25 zone, trying to beat his personal record for a commute to work, and made no effort to stop at stop signs or red lights, including the one he ran when he killed Hui. The prosecutors had him dead to rights via witnesses (including other bike riders), surveillance footage, and his own GPS.
A bicycle is a pleasant and fun way to travel, and done right, it’s healthy for everybody. We try to ride every day, in season. But some people who make a cult of it are a real problem. You can see both kinds of bike riders discussing this accident in this forum thread.
And human life is a remarkably fragile thing. The people who want to ban guns want to be safe, and they think (however mistakenly) that will do it. In fact, California has some ridiculously strict gun laws. What good did that do Sutchi Hui? None at all. Because California also has its share of self-centered, narcissistic and reckless bike riders. And since it also has incredibly permissive courts and prosecutors, neither that, nor the Golden State’s gun crime, have any prospect of changing.