So how should we respond when it’s a bike rider who gets the benefit of the court’s low valuation of a human life?
San Francisco cyclist Chris Bucchere faced a felony manslaughter charge for running into 71-year old pedestrian Sutchi Hui in a crosswalk while — allegedly — trying to beat his Strava time. Witnesses and security camera footage were unclear on whether he ran the red light, or entered on the yellow as Bucchere claimed.
Bucchere posted online shortly after the incident, defending his actions by saying the crosswalk filled before he could clear the intersection, and, unable to find a clear line, laid down his bike at the least populated area. At least some witnesses said he simply plowed through the crowded crosswalk, killing Hui.
Other witnesses reported that he had been riding recklessly prior to the collision, running at least three red lights prior to arriving at the deadly intersection.
Now the SF Gate reports that he’s accepted a plea deal that will avoid jail time, agreeing to perform 1,000 hours of community service.
Don’t get me wrong.
One thousand hours is a long time, and it gives him an opportunity to benefit society while serving as a warning to other riders.
But if a killer driver got off with just community service, we would be livid. At least, I would be.
Should we be any less so when the killer is one of us?
My first reaction was relief that Bucchere had been held accountable without suffering the heavy handed sentence that had been threatened. After all, he’s one of us, and it’s easy to imagine ourselves in that position.
Or not, on second though.
I never run red lights. As in, never.
I always ride within my capabilities; as thrilling as it can be to push beyond your limits, I’ve learned the hard way that the risks far outweigh the benefits.
And I never, ever ride recklessly around pedestrians. They have the right-of-way when crossing the street. And even when in the wrong, they are the only people on the roadway more vulnerable than we are.
They need, and deserve, our respect and consideration as much as we need that of the motorists we’re forced to share the road with.
So I find myself conflicted.
I’m angry that yet another killer has been let off the hook with a sentence that once again devalues the life of his victim and the consequences of his actions.
And relieved that one of us wasn’t held to a stricter accountability than similarly reckless drivers.
It’s just another slap on the wrist. And a sentence that is only fair in the uniformity of its unfairness.
Thanks to Al Williams for the heads-up.