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-   -   San Francisco cyclist kills pedestrian - Part 2 (http://www.bikeforums.net/advocacy-safety/820289-san-francisco-cyclist-kills-pedestrian-part-2-a.html)

genec 07-01-12 11:58 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by alhedges (Post 14422027)
Cite?

Sure. http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/vctop/d01/vc231.htm

Quote:

V C Section 231 Bicycle

Bicycle

231. A bicycle is a device upon which any person may ride, propelled exclusively by human power through a belt, chain, or gears, and having one or more wheels. Persons riding bicycles are subject to the provisions of this code specified in Sections 21200 and 21200.5.

Amended Ch. 1013, Stats. 1985. Effective January 1, 1986.
And of course the definition you used...

Quote:

V C Section 670 Vehicle

Vehicle

670. A "vehicle" is a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

Amended Ch. 987, Stats. 1975. Effective January 1, 1976.
This pretty much means a bicycle is NOT a vehicle... However, as stated in 21200...
Quote:

a person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, and by Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), Section 27400, Division 16.7 (commencing with Section 39000), Division 17 (commencing with Section 40000.1), and Division 18 (commencing with Section 42000), except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.

alhedges 07-01-12 03:25 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by genec (Post 14428070)
a person riding a bicycle or operating a pedicab upon a highway has all the rights and is subject to all the provisions applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this division, including, but not limited to, provisions concerning driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or drugs, and by Division 10 (commencing with Section 20000), Section 27400, Division 16.7 (commencing with Section 39000), Division 17 (commencing with Section 40000.1), and Division 18 (commencing with Section 42000), except those provisions which by their very nature can have no application.

Oh, all of that is correct; I don't disagree with it. But this discussion originated in the question about how the cyclist could be charged with vehicular manslaughter if a bicycle isn't a vehicle. Here's the relevant section of the Calif. Pen. Code:

Quote:

192. Manslaughter is the unlawful killing of a human being without
malice. It is of three kinds: (a) Voluntary--upon a sudden quarrel or heat of passion. (b) Involuntary--in the commission of an unlawful act, notamounting to felony; or in the commission of a lawful act which mightproduce death, in an unlawful manner, or without due caution andcircumspection. This subdivision shall not apply to acts committed inthe driving of a vehicle. (c) Vehicular-- (1) Except as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 191.5,driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, not amountingto felony, and with gross negligence; or driving a vehicle in thecommission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawfulmanner, and with gross negligence.
(2) Driving a vehicle in the commission of an unlawful act, notamounting to felony, but without gross negligence; or driving avehicle in the commission of a lawful act which might produce death,in an unlawful manner, but without gross negligence. (3) Driving a vehicle in connection with a violation of paragraph(3) of subdivision (a) of Section 550, where the vehicular collisionor vehicular accident was knowingly caused for financial gain andproximately resulted in the death of any person. This provision shallnot be construed to prevent prosecution of a defendant for the crimeof murder. This section shall not be construed as making any homicide in thedriving of a vehicle punishable that is not a proximate result of thecommission of an unlawful act, not amounting to felony, or of thecommission of a lawful act which might produce death, in an unlawfulmanner. "Gross negligence," as used in this section, shall not beconstrued as prohibiting or precluding a charge of murder underSection 188 upon facts exhibiting wantonness and a consciousdisregard for life to support a finding of implied malice, or uponfacts showing malice, consistent with the holding of the CaliforniaSupreme Court in People v. Watson, 30 Cal. 3d 290.
In other words, vehicular manslaughter involves driving a "vehicle." Looking at the definition of a vehicle shows that bicycles are specifically exempted. So you can't charge someone with vehicular manslaughter for driving a vehicle. (It doesn't matter that bike riders are in many cases treated *like* vehicles; by definition they aren't vehicles).

dougmc 07-01-12 07:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by genec (Post 14428070)
Quote:

V C Section 670 Vehicle

Vehicle

670. A "vehicle" is a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.

Amended Ch. 987, Stats. 1975. Effective January 1, 1976.
This pretty much means a bicycle is NOT a vehicle... However, as stated in 21200...

Just to be clear, the entire statute defining what a vehicle was wasn't quoted. In particular ... ...

Quote:

VEHICLE CODE
SECTION 100-680
100. Unless the provision or context otherwise requires, these definitions shall govern the construction of this code.
...
670. A "vehicle" is a device by which any person or property may be propelled, moved, or drawn upon a highway, excepting a device moved exclusively by human power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks.
But the part that covers vehicular manslaughter is another part of the code entirely (penal code vs. vehicle code) and it's not clear that this definition applies there. I really don't know either way -- I haven't really looked at the law in California much and am certainly no expert in it -- but I'm just pointing out what might (or might not) be a flaw in this theory.

Digital_Cowboy 07-02-12 11:18 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by sauerwald (Post 14422358)
California explicitly excepts human powered vehicles from their definition of vehicle, therefore in California, a bicycle is NOT a vehicle - it is a human powered device.

I believe that in most other states, bicycles are vehicles.

So then if that is correct a charge of felony vehicular manslaughter is the wrong charge, what would be the correct charge? If a bicycle isn't by California law a vehicle can the operator of a bicycle be charged with a hit and run?

Digital_Cowboy 07-02-12 11:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scooper (Post 14427863)

I find it interesting that some of the comments now have him being accused of having committed the crime of "hit and run" even though there is plenty of evidence that shows that he was knocked out and transported to the hospital. I guess then using their "logic" that anytime a driver is involved in a crash and is knocked out and is transported to the hospital that they too are now "guilty" of having committed a "hit and run."

Scooper 07-03-12 04:38 AM

Many of the public comments posted in response to blog articles are usually woefully uninformed.

Digital_Cowboy 07-03-12 06:03 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Scooper (Post 14434584)
Many of the public comments posted in response to blog articles are usually woefully uninformed.

That my friend is an understatement.

And I am sure that we all know that if this had been a motorist who had hit and injured or killed a cyclist that they would all be taking the motorists side. To quote Roddeny Dangerfield, "We don't get no respect, I'm telling you we don't get no respect." Or "We're damned if we do, and damned if we don't."

Scooper 03-07-13 12:07 PM

There was a S.F. Examiner article today on yesterday's hearing to determine if Chris Bucchere will have to stand trial. S.F. Superior Court Judge Andrew Cheng will rule today on a defense motion to dismiss the charges or reduce them. Evidence against Bucchere includes video from a nearby business as well as testimony from numerous witnesses.

It has been nearly a year since the fatal "accident."


Witness and video testimony show cyclist Chris Bucchere ran red light prior to fatal crash with pedestrian

yochris 03-07-13 04:03 PM

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/articl...er-4336819.php

Felony manslaughter charges being brought. Read through the comments to get a sense of how most in the city view the cycling community here. Not that we as a community do much to help our cause, but it will interesting to see how this plays out.

unterhausen 03-07-13 04:25 PM

I think that's probably called for. Having said that, it would be nice if the legal system in San Fransisco could get similarly worked up about motorists slaughtering people. Of course, drivers aren't robots so there will be fatal accidents from time to time, no big deal, business as usual. Interesting article about this, apparently they are worked up about it, but the only prosecution they mention is the one involving the cyclist

m.rivas 03-07-13 05:21 PM

It looks to me like you were at fault here.

When the light turned yellow, you were by the rear wheel of the parked car to your right. That's at least 20 feet away from the first crosswalk and more than enough distance to stop.

The light turned red as soon as you exited the crosswalk. In the time it took you to cross the intersection on a red, the pedestrians had probably gotten the crossing signal(I don't know what it's called).

squirtdad 03-07-13 06:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by unterhausen (Post 15357597)
I think that's probably called for. Having said that, it would be nice if the legal system in San Fransisco could get similarly worked up about motorists slaughtering people. Of course, drivers aren't robots so there will be fatal accidents from time to time, no big deal, business as usual. Interesting article about this, apparently they are worked up about it, but the only prosecution they mention is the one involving the cyclist

I am sure part of it is the old dog bites man is not news, man bites dog is news.

Part of it community view of bicylists not following traffic rules making this newsworthy

Part of it is related to the widely reported post accident blog post that was interpreted as uncaring at best.

In San Francisco in both 2011 and 2012 (this case) there was a pedestrian fatality attributed to the cyclists running red lights.

CB HI 03-07-13 08:19 PM

The direct evidence seems to conflict.

A felony conviction is reasonable if the cyclist entered the intersection under a red light, he broke the law and killed someone. On the other hand, a misdemeanor for reckless driving is more appropriate, as he entered the intersection legally but did not take care to reasonably stop in time.

No different than a motorist overdriving their headlights. How odd that the "blame the dead cyclist first" crowd and not jumping in here to "blame the dead pedestrian first" claiming the cyclist should not even be ticketed. Here you go guys, a thread that we do blame the cyclist.

Motorist and cyclist must operate their vehicles safely without killing others.

Angio Graham 03-07-13 08:29 PM

Arent there like 5 cases everyday in America where motorists kill pedestrians or cyclists when making some type of illegal move and nothing happens to them ?

B. Carfree 03-07-13 09:48 PM

I sure hope they make the video that the defense attorney says shows the cyclist entering the intersection prior to the light turning red to the public. If he crossed the limit line before the light turned red, he had the right-of-way and the fault lies with the pedestrian. If the light turned red before he crossed the limit line, then he is at fault and they will burn him.

In our current environment, where cyclists, pedestrians and motorists routinely break every law in the vehicle code on nearly every trip, it seems more than a little prejudicial for the prosecutor to bring in witnesses claiming to have seen the defendant running stop signs prior to the collision. Maybe the defense should show some video of the victim jaywalking. The only thing at issue is whether or not he ran THIS light.

KonAaron Snake 03-08-13 08:31 AM

The reality is that if you hit a pedestrian, the odds are you're going to lose in civil court, regardless of fault. This is true for motorists and cyclists. It's BS, and I hate it...but it's the way it is. If he went through that close to red/yellow, the ped must have also been borderline and likely starting out through red...which should be considered contributory negligence, but it never quite works that way, at least in my area.

The criminal charges...well, we'll see. I'm surprised it hasn't been plead down and settled.

I hit a pedestrian at around 7-8 MPH last week. Hard enough that she went flying. It was a 20 something girl and she got up OK and walked fine. If she fell differently, or if it had been an older or less healthy person, it could have been a lot worse. It was 100% her fault...she and another idiot ped went through a cross walk against a red as I was going through on green. I was probably going around 15-20 approaching the cross walk in a 25mph speed limit street. I started slowing down. He hustled through, she froze. I didn't know what she was doing...hit my brakes hard and tried to swerve to avoid. She swerved the same way I did. By the time I made contact I'd gotten down to around 5-8 mph (I'm guessing, but it was low speed).

Had it been worse, I have little doubt that I would have been an irresponsible cyclist story and she would have been the poor victim. The truth is that she was an idiot...and there were a lot of other people at the crossing who had the sense not to walk across a red into traffic. Hopefully it was a good lesson for her...she probably woke up bruised, but no permanent harm. I definitely didn't serve my own interests by yelling at her after she got up...no one cares who was right or wrong at the point where a scary guy knocks down a poor, attractive girl half his size and then yells at her when she gets up. It was my first ped-bike contact and it scared the heck out of me...it's an excuse, but it's also true. For all the complaining I see about autos, the biggest scofflaw group of menacing lemmings I worry about are peds and other cyclists.

dynodonn 03-08-13 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake (Post 15360200)

I hit a pedestrian at around 7-8 MPH last week.

Had it been worse......




The young woman was fortunate that she was hit by a bicycle, and not a 3000 to 4000 lb motor vehicle at the same speed, it would have been worse, much worse.

I had one young woman motorist who must have had in for bicyclists, because I had two separate incidents with this same woman while she was exiting her car. The first time was having her kick her driver's door open in front of me, almost blocking the entire bike lane I was in, and the second incident was when her and her SO were standing in the bike lane next to her car, as I take the lane at 20 to 25 mph in a 35 mph zone, the SO stays put but she juts out in front of me as I'm within a few yards from her, causing me to take several hundred miles of tire life off my rear tire. The last incident was the most memorable incident of nearly hitting a ped.

KonAaron Snake 03-08-13 10:03 AM

I've had a few close calls before (one or two even my fault!), but this was the first contact. What amazes me is how self righteous they are. I had an incident a few months back where the wife and I were riding our Schwinn triplet. That is a big, heavy bike and we were moving along at around 12 mph. It doesn't stop on a dot (though the drum brakes are pretty good). We go through an intersection, on green, and about three or four people jump out in front of me...I yell (and I have a booming voice). They got back in time, but they then screamed at me for yelling at them. I've had something similar to that happen a few times. NYC was even worse, but Philly peds can be quite stupid.

Someday I'll have to tell the jogger with her baby stroller in the bike lane story.

dougmc 03-08-13 01:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by randomgear (Post 14267127)
Per the California Driver's Manual: "Pedestrians have the right-of-way in marked or unmarked crosswalks."
"A yellow signal light means "CAUTION." The red signal is about to appear. When you see the yellow light, stop if you can do so safely. If you cannot stop safely, cross the intersection cautiously."

link here: http://www.dmv.ca.gov/pubs/hdbk/driver_handbook_toc.htm

Arguing what the law actually says based on what you find in a driver's manual is losing proposition. Driver's manuals tend to oversimplify things and don't cover the nuances of the law (and rightfully so -- they're supposed to be simple and easy to understand for the layperson, and the law generally isn't.)

For example, pedestrians certainly do not have the right of way when the light says "DO NOT WALK" and traffic is flowing across the crosswalk and they just walk out -- yet the manual here says (incorrectly) that they would have it. And as already said, according to the actual law, traffic that already legally entered the intersection has the right of way, and traffic that has not yet entered the intersection needs to yield to that that is already in the intersection, whatever the state of their signals.

That said, drivers certainly should yield to pedestrians whenever possible, but the law doesn't actually say that, and if there's a collision it's what the law says that really matters.

dougmc 03-08-13 01:17 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake (Post 15360693)
I've had a few close calls before (one or two even my fault!), but this was the first contact. What amazes me is how self righteous they are. I had an incident a few months back where the wife and I were riding our Schwinn triplet. That is a big, heavy bike and we were moving along at around 12 mph. It doesn't stop on a dot (though the drum brakes are pretty good). We go through an intersection, on green, and about three or four people jump out in front of me...I yell (and I have a booming voice). They got back in time, but they then screamed at me for yelling at them. I've had something similar to that happen a few times. NYC was even worse, but Philly peds can be quite stupid.

You know, I've heard almost this exact same story many times, except that the bike was replaced with a big truck, and the pedestrians replaced with cyclists ...

And of course the story is told from the point of view of the truck driver ...

unterhausen 03-08-13 01:58 PM

strange, lots of people know I'm a cyclists and I have never heard cyclist/truck taking the place of pedestrian/cyclist. With few exceptions for places with really strict enforcement of jaywalking laws, jaywalking is endemic. And people can be pretty stupid about it too. In a college town, you really have to watch out. Of course, when those same people get in their cars, the pedestrians have to watch out. Circle of life.

dougmc 03-08-13 03:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by unterhausen (Post 15361972)
strange, lots of people know I'm a cyclists and I have never heard cyclist/truck taking the place of pedestrian/cyclist.

Here's the general story I'm referring to --

Person in large motor vehicle (which can't stop on a dime like the smaller ones) drives down the road, obeying all traffic laws and in general being a perfectly safe driver.
Cyclist pulls out in front of them -- either they just jump out in traffic, change lanes or run a red light/stop sign, etc., without even looking, trusting that all traffic will stop for them. Often the cyclists have other undesirable characteristics, such as using earbuds, no helmet, no brakes (though most motorists don't pick up on this), on a fixie, skinny jeans ("hipster!") or spandex ("Lance Wannabee"), etc.
Large motor vehicle is barely able to stop in time. In fact, often the only reason it was able to stop in time is due to the extreme law abiding and careful nature of the driver!
The driver carefully taps their horn or rolls down their window to speak to the cyclists, letting them know about their error.
The cyclist unleashes a torrent of abuse upon the driver, fuelled by righteous indignation and usually including quite a few choice profanities and gestures, before riding off in a huff.

Now, some of the details change, but this general story can be found in the comments section of every news story that's even vaguely related to bicycling. Often it's then followed by an exhortation that cyclists need licenses, bicycles need registrations, cyclists need to "pay their way", etc. You've probably seen the story yourself a few times.

And the incident described here seemed quite similar to this archetypical story, except that the large motor vehicle was replaced by a large bicycle, and the cyclists were replaced by pedestrians.

And no, the similarity doesn't automatically mean that either story is fictitious or embellished.

ChasH 03-08-13 03:15 PM

"I hope this case serves as a reminder to all that there are life-altering consequences to not following the rules of the road", said San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon in a statement. Well said George.

it will be interesting to see just what evidence is presented to the court. If he's found guilty, Bucchere should get a very stiff sentence.

ChasH 03-08-13 03:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Digital_Cowboy (Post 14399061)
Yes, I know that someone died, but to hear some people talk about it. One could get the impression that Bucchere intentionally went out looking for someone to hit and kill.

I haven't read this whole thread. Please let us know who gave you that impression, and exactly how you got it. I'm genuinely curious.

My own interest in the law surrounding vehicular manslaughter, criminal negligence and the like is that if I die in an accident it's most likely on a motorcycle, at the hands of someone who had no intention to kill me, because he/she made some avoidable mistake. I'll be just as dead.

it likely won't be on a bicycle as I mostly ride the MTB on trails.

unterhausen 03-08-13 03:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dougmc (Post 15362230)
Here's the general story I'm referring to --

Person in large motor vehicle (which can't stop on a dime like the smaller ones) drives down the road, obeying all traffic laws and in general being a perfectly safe driver.
Cyclist pulls out in front of them -- either they just jump out in traffic, change lanes or run a red light/stop sign, etc., without even looking, trusting that all traffic will stop for them.

I believe this is something that rarely happens, and these incidents are embellished because otherwise "cyclists always run stop signs" looks a little foolish. I was driving on a campus road yesterday and a college kid on a bike comes zooming out in front of my car from the side. The thing is that I didn't have to take evasive measures to keep from hitting him and I'm positive he was much more aware of me than I was of him. Non-cyclists just don't realize that cyclists are very aware of what they are doing and the risks of screwing up.


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