We were walking back from brunch on a Sunset Blvd sidewalk, when we heard a bike bell from behind.
I quickly moved off to the side with our dog. But before my wife could figure out just where the rider was and which way to go, he zoomed past, brushing against her as he blew by.
And never looked back to see if she was okay.
Fortunately, she kept her balance and wasn’t hurt; it could have been much worse.
This is why I’m not a fan of bike bells. They tell you a bike is present, but the listener has to figure out first where the sound is coming from, and then what to do in response.
Make that mental calculation too slowly with the wrong rider, and you could end up on your ass.
Meanwhile, every bicyclist is equipped with a simple, yet effective means of letting people know where you are and what you intend to do.
It’s easy enough to politely say “excuse me,” and tell them you’re passing on their left or right. Politely being the key word.
Which brings up the question of courtesy, which is where this rider failed badly.
While he did the right thing by ringing his bell, he should have slowed down and waited for us to get out of the way. With the understanding that moving out of the way is a courtesy, not an obligation.
Sidewalks may be shared turf in LA, where riding on the sidewalk is legal, unlike many other cities in the area. But people on bikes have an obligation to ride safely and courteously around pedestrians, leaving plenty of room for the people on foot.
In other words, show the same courtesy to pedestrians you’d want drivers to show you on the street.
Another inch or two, and my wife could have been hurt badly. And we’d likely be looking for a hit-and-run cyclist, instead of just complaining about some jerk on a bike.
A century ride through the Anza-Borrego Desert State Park east of San Diego had 26 volunteers this year. And just three participants. Correction: There were actually 225 riders who rolled across the start line. Blame a misleading lede, cut off too soon by a paywall. Thanks to Bill Clare for the correction.
Opponents to a proposed DC bike lane say it’s an attempt to run black churches out of town, and tell bike riders to take their “pastime” to a park.
The Daily Mail reports BMX legend Dave Mirra was making plans for the future before he took his own life; the mayor of his North Carolina hometown suggests multiple brain injuries may have led to his depression.
Despite what he says, bike riders aren’t expected to ride on the shoulder, or even hug the white line at the right of the road. In fact, nothing to the right of the limit line is even considered part of the roadway under California law.
And despite a common misperception, cyclists are not required to ride as close to the right as possible. Rather, bike riders — like any other slow moving vehicles — are expected to ride as close to the right as practicable.
Which means far enough into the roadway to avoid the broken glass, rocks and potholes that too often accumulate on the right.
Then there’s the question of the narrow traffic lanes usually found on canyon roads. The requirement to ride to the right does not apply to any lane too narrow for a bike and a car to safely share with at least three feet between them. Which includes most of the right lanes in Southern California.
There’s also nothing in California law prohibiting cyclists from riding two or more abreast, as long as they stay within a single unsharable lane. In fact, it’s often safer to ride abreast in order to increase visibility and maintain control of the lane.
While it may seem safer and more polite, riding single file along the limit line encourages drivers to pass cyclists in a dangerous manner, rather than change lanes to safely go around them. And it increases the likelihood that passing motorists will try to cut back in between the riders to avoid oncoming traffic, greatly raising the risk of a collision.
Never mind that it’s actually easier to pass a more compact group of cyclists riding abreast than it is a long, strung out line of single file riders.
Yes, bicyclists should always obey the law, and show courtesy to others on the road whenever it’s safe to do so.
And as he notes, we will inevitably come out on the losing end in any conflict with a motor vehicle.
That is why cyclists can and should ride in the manner they consider safest, and motorists should drive carefully around them. Even if drivers — or other “avid” cyclists — may not understand why we ride the way we do.
It only takes a modicum of courtesy and patience on everyone’s part to make sure we all get home safely.
In a highly biased report, a Bay Area TV station takes a remarkably one-sided look at California’s new three-foot passing law.
San Francisco’s KGO-7 concludes that it is virtually impossible for drivers on the city’s crowded streets to give a bike rider three-feet of passing distance while remaining in the same lane.
Evidently, San Francisco drivers somehow lack the ability to change lanes or wait until it’s safe to pass. And never mind that the law allows drivers to pass at less than three feet after slowing to a reasonable speed, whatever that may be.
They also inexplicably note that bike riders aren’t subject to a fine for coming within three feet of a motor vehicle, evidently failing to realize that the purpose of the law is to protect the lives and safety of cyclists, rather than keep motor vehicles from getting scratched.
The law may be far from perfect, thanks to Governor Jerry Brown’s veto of a better version of the law in 2011, as well as weaker version in 2012.
But it’s a hell of a lot better than their amateur reporting would make it seem.
And misguided reports like this only add to the animosity on our streets, putting cyclists at even greater risk.
OC’s cdmCyclist confesses to Dirty Old Man On A Bike Syndrome. For the sake of full disclosure, I have to confess to riding into the back of a park car while gazing upon an attractive woman in my younger days. She thought it was funny; the owner of the car, not so much.
A bicycling victim of the Isla Vista tragedy hopes to walk in his graduation ceremony; the rider ho was run down in the vicious rampage is the last victim still hospitalized.
If you’ve been coming here for awhile, you know I’ve offered my own suggestions on how to put an end to hit-and-runs once and for all.
Meanwhile, another petition calls for an end to the common practice of driving — legally — without plates, which makes it virtually impossible to identify drivers who flee after injuring or killing someone. Although some people want to remove the requirement for a front plate entirely because it reduces aerodynamics and might get dinged during a car wash.
But if some driver takes off after running over my ass, I want the cops to be able to read the imprint of the jerk’s license plate embedded on my butt cheeks.
One way or another, though, something has to be done now to stop dangerous drivers from running away like the cowards they are after colliding with another person or vehicle.
And force them to take responsibility for their actions.
Though I might argue with the suggestion that the distain some drivers have for cyclists is justified by our own bad behavior.
But I’ve had the same experience he has of obeying the law only to watch another rider blow through the red light or stop sign I’ve stopped for. Or pausing to observe a motorist’s right-of-way only to have a cyclist swerve dangerously around me and cut the car off — then flip off the driver for the chaos he created.
And yes, it’s inevitably a he.
Granted, traffic laws were not written with cyclists in mind. And sometimes safety dictates observing the spirit, rather than the letter of the law.
But we can’t expect others on the roads to obey the laws we choose to flaunt.
There’s absolutely nothing that says traffic regulations don’t apply to you. Or me, for that matter.
And let’s not forget that if anything bad does happen, you’ll likely lose any chance of an insurance or legal settlement if it can be shown you were even partly in the wrong. Regardless of what the other party may or may not have done.
A UK rider points out the indignities women have to put up with when she’s slapped on the ass from a passing motorcycle. Unfortunately, that’s a story I’ve heard too often from other women, as well.
Now that’s more like it. British drivers who kill while driving with a suspended license will now face 10 years in prison. Then again, I’d vote for prison time for anyone who continues to drive after their license has been revoked.
The next time someone tells you all bike riders run red lights, show them this.
According to a new study from Portland State University, an overwhelming 94% of bicyclists in four Oregon cities — not just bike-friendly Portland — stopped for red lights. And 89% were observed obeying the rules perfectly, while 4% jumped the light just before it changed.
Only a paltry 6% actually blew the lights.
The study was based on a review of over 2,000 videos from intersection crossing cameras. Which means there was no observational bias from researchers at the scene, or riders acting on their best behavior because they knew they were being watched.
The Times offers more details on that 17-year old Sacramento County driver who deliberately chased down a 10-year old boy after someone threw a water bottle at her SUV. The victim was riding bikes with his brother when the girl attacked him, dragging him 10 feet beneath her vehicle; according to a CHP spokesperson, she was non-remorseful and didn’t seem to care that she’d just committed assault with a deadly weapon.
There’s a new poster child for drunk driving, as an intoxicated motorist drove onto an off-road trail — and plowed into a marathon raising funds to fight drug and alcohol abuse.
And I don’t even know what to say about this one, as a Santa Rosa woman assaults customers and staff in a Dollar Store, steals not one but two bikes, and is finally arrested with Vicodin, a meth pipe and some things she stole from the store.
It’s another thing entirely when the danger comes from being buzzed by other bike riders who really should know better. Especially when there’s no damn reason for it.
In the first case captured in the above video, a rider blew by with no warning whatsoever, apparently because he couldn’t be bothered to squeeze his brakes long enough to announce his presence and make a safe pass. Had I moved more than a few inches off my line — which would have happened as soon as I thought it was safe to pass the rider ahead — we would have collided.
And probably ended up beneath the cars to our left.
The second rider evidently felt the need to risk my safety by remaining firmly inside the frequently ignored solid yellow no-passing line, brushing by as close as humanly possible without making actual physical contact.
If I had even turned my head to look behind me, she would have hit me. She must have recognized my obvious skill and was confident in my ability to hold my line.
So let’s get this straight.
What passes in the peloton doesn’t play on the street. Or the bike path, for that matter, which tends to be over populated with the least skilled riders and pedestrians,.
If you’re going pass another human being — on a bike or otherwise — give them at least an arms-length passing distance, if not the full three feet you’d expect from a motorist.
If for any reason you can’t give sufficient passing distance or if there’s any danger of conflict, call if out before you pass. A simple “On your left” can avoid most problems, and is often, though not always, greeted with a thank you and a move to the right.
Which is exactly what I would have done if the woman on the bike path had just announced her damn presence.
And if the guy on the street had yelled it out before blowing by, at least I would have known not to move left, which I was about to do.
While I’m no fan of bike bells, even that helps by offering a friendly announcement that you’re there, if not where you’re going.
And lets everyone know an angel just got it’s wings.
Always pass on the left whenever possible, and never undercut a rider by passing in the door zone he or she is carefully avoiding. If a car door happens to swing open, it could knock you into them, and you could both end up under passing traffic.
Or better yet, just treat other riders the same way you want drivers to treat you. And simply don’t pass until it’s safe to do so.
Better to lose a few seconds off your Strava time than spend a few hours in the ER.
Or force someone else to.
Update: In the comments below, Chuck questioned whether the first rider was really as close as he seemed, noting he passed the rider in front of me at over an arms length.
While he goes by far too fast in the video to tell just how close he is, this still should give a better idea. Clearly, not as close as the near-shoulder brushing rider on the bike path, but still too close for safety, let alone comfort.
Meanwhile, the needlessly embattled MyFigueroa project is gaining key support from neighborhood councils, and is due back before the city council’s Planning and Land Use Management Committee any day. Hopefully, we’ll get some advance notice of the hearing so supporters can actually show up.
If you need inspiration, you’ll find it here, as the Orange County Register talks to a recumbent-riding Wounded Warrior who’s not letting cancer kick her ass. Thanks to the Register for sharing this one.
More evidence that Caltrans is hopelessly locked in the auto-centric past as they propose widening Highway 1 to six lanes in Pacifica to possibly save 5 minutes drive time 20 years from now. But at least they did include bike-friendly 10-foot wide shoulders in the plan.
Cyclists tackle The Snake on Muholland; photo by Paul Herold
Sometimes, my posts get written for me.
Not that I’m complaining.
This is one of those occasions, with an open letter to cyclists from a well-known motor sports photographer. A couple of videos. A request for witnesses from an LA bike lawyer.
And a friend who played an unwanted game of bumper bike near Westside Pavilion on Pico Blvd.
First up is that open letter to cyclists who ride the famed Snake on Mulholland, aka the Rock Store ride, from Paul Herold, known around the world for his photos of the cyclists, motorcyclists and high-end sports car drivers who test their skills there.
I can’t say I agree with everything he’s written. On the other hand, I don’t ride there; some cyclists who do tell me his advice is spot on.
Either way, it’s worth a read.
Rumour has it that Amgen’s 2014 Tour of California will be returning to The Snake (the Rock Store climb) this May with the same circuit format we all enjoyed so much back in 2010. While I can find no confirmation on the TOC web site, I see ample support for the rumour in the faces of scores of new visitors I am seeing every weekend. Enthusiasm is not the only thing I am seeing in those new faces though….fear, horror, dread, anger frustration and rage are there too, mixed in with the usual fatigue and desperation. I can’t help much with fatigue. But perhaps I can help ease some of the fear, dread, loathing and rage.
After sitting on The Snake camera in hand for seven years of weekends and holidays, I have some ideas to help make your ascent or descent of the Rock Store more enjoyable and safer. First, some perspective.
The Snake is one of the greatest 2.3 mile stretches of tantalizingly twisty tarmac on the West Coast. Located on Mulholland Highway north west Los Angeles County, the road is accessible to millions of car enthusiasts, motorcycle riders and cyclists. And it ain’t no secret. Crash videos from The Snake on YouTube are viewed by tens of millions viewers world wide. Visitors from South America, Europe and Asia are on the hill every weekend to witness the spectacle in person. Unsurprisingly, the top sweeper known as Edward’s Corner, is probably as famous and recognizable as any street curve in the world.
Local car clubs regularly include The Snake on their weekend cruises. National car clubs run The Snake for their national events. Individuals in everything from tricked out Civics to convertible Bugatti Veyrons run The Snake on a normal weekend. And the vehicles Jay Leno brings are sweet enough to ruin your diet.
Motorcyclists from all over the USA ride The Snake too. For some, it is a jumping off point for hundreds of miles of canyon and coastal riding. For many, many others, it is an end destination. I have seen individual riders pass me over 50 times in the course of a day, up and down, again and again loving every minute. The mix of motorcycles is split between crotch rockets, sport tourers and cruisers.
So…how do you stay safe on your bicycle, amidst the mechanized din? Here are my suggestions.
Please ride single file. Don’t force overtaking traffic into oncoming lanes. If you are riding with two friends or twenty please respect the rights of the traffic behind you.
Lose the ear buds. It is unlawful and dangerous. Not every motorcycle or car has loud pipes.
Ride early….or late. The mechanized madness peaks between 10am and 3pm.
Hug the white line. I read many years ago that if you can’t keep your road bike on the line, you shouldn’t be on the street. The white line is your friend. Hug it robustly.
Generally, the higher the RPM of the vehicle approaching you, the less skilled the operator. Stay alert.
Don’t stop and sightsee in turns. Step over the guardrails if you must, unless a wheelchair sounds like fun.
Imagine an out of control car or bike heading your way from the other side of every blind apex…and pick your line accordingly. If a driver or biker is going to lose control, it will usually be at the exit of a turn.
While climbing, courteous riders vacate the apex post haste. There is only one ‘best line through’ any turn. If you don’t need that line, don’t hog it
If you didn’t climb it, don’t descend with abandon, because you don’t know what road hazards may await…oil, wet patches, gravel….
Ride with a GoPro or dash cam. If you complain to me about a car or motorcycle, I can’t educate/mediate/excoriate unless I know who it was.
Prepare your body. Out of shape climbers rock to and fro enough to move themselves around within their lane.
Prepare your mind. This is not an abandoned country road. You are going to get ‘buzzed’. You are going to hear a horn or two. And you will certainly hear some throaty exhausts.
Prepare your bicycle. The Snake is not where you want to discover a slow leak or frayed cable.
I keep water, velo tools, tubes (thank you Ashton Johnson of Franco) and air in my truck at all times. So if you are in need, find me on the hill.
This is what you may see coming from behind; photo by Paul Herold
STAY OFF THE YELLOW PAINT! It is slick as bal… er, uh… ice. If you try and corner on the yellow lines, you will go down.
Be especially vigilant on the first Sunday of each month. A well attended Valley automobile event gets a lot of motors running, usually between 9am and noon.
Be prepared for anything. A group from Helen’s on a break neck descent came around a fast curve only to confront an armada of three radio controlled cars screaming towards them in the wrong lane. Semis, garbage trucks and longboarders are also sighted frequently.
Road shoulders at the exit of any turn are not the place for repairs. Cross the road or get well off to the side.
The better the weather, the more mechanized company you will have.
RIDE SINGLE FILE!
In these past few years, I have taken over I million photos on The Snake. In that time, I am aware of only three incidents in which a cyclist was hospitalized, and know of only five incidents involving motor vehicles vs. cyclists. The catalog of close calls and WTF’s could fill a reservoir, but the safety record still isn’t bad. I’d guess that despite the frenetic nature of a sunny Sunday prime time on The Snake, you are still safer here than you would be on PCH…or in Kabul. ;).
Major speed differential creates danger among the various road users; photo by Paul Herold
And there is no real enmity among the motorcyclist towards the cyclists. The moto riders’ #1 complaint is when cyclist ride two or more wide. Conversely, the number one complaint I hear from cyclists is that they were buzzed by a motorcycle. Seems to me that if fewer cyclist rode in social formation, there would be fewer incidents of ‘buzzing’.
My experiences, observations and suggestions are limited specifically to weekend conditions on The Snake, but may have general applicability to narrow canyons throughout the Santa Monica Mountains. As May approaches, there will be more and more riders heading for the Rock Store climb, as our heroes will be doing in the 2014 Amgen Tour of California. The purpose of this letter has been to give you some perspective about The Snake and offer some suggestions that will keep you and everyone else safe.
Come. Ride. Enjoy. Buy pictures! And remember….You Will Never Ride Alone.
Next up, Los Angeles Bicycle Attorney Josh Cohen offers a warning about a dangerous stretch of bike lane on westbound Colorado Blvd in Eagle Rock. And he’s looking for witnesses familiar with that hazard for a case he’s handling representing an injured bike rider.
A serious injury has been reported due to a dangerous condition in the center of the westbound bicycle lane on Colorado Boulevard, between Vincent Avenue and Mount Royal Drive, in Eagle Rock. The condition is a deviation in the center of the lane that runs for several yards parallel to and directly between the lines that delineate the bicycle lane. It consists of an undulating ledge that has formed where the asphalt of the roadway dips into a shallow trench where it meets the concrete that forms the gutter and sidewalk. Cracks also exist between traffic side lane line of the bicycle path and the number two vehicular lane (and bus lane). There is also a bus stop just west of and adjacent to the hazard, which makes navigating this section of roadway even more treacherous. Cyclists riding along this section of lane should use extreme caution and be especially mindful, as following the arrow at Vincent Drive that directly them into the bicycle lane on Colorado forces them into having to choose between avoiding a series of cracks on the left side, the ledge on the right, and possibly a bus that may be merging across their path.
Anyone with first-hand information or experience with this situation is urged to call him at 323/937-7105 or email email@example.com.
Okay, so it’s not LA. Or even Southern California.
Or the US, for that matter.
But I was forwarded this short video from Vancouver Cycle Chic about a veteran Vancouver politician, the man who loves him and their mutual love for bicycling. And liked it enough to share with you.
Damien was riding his bike east on Pico Blvd between Overland and Beverly Glen Blvds — a busy stretch of roadway which inexplicably used to be considered a Class 3 bike route and isn’t anymore, for good reason — when he was dangerously buzzed by passing driver who nearly didn’t.
Riding my bicycle on Pico Blvd. going east between Overland and the really hilly section a driver buzzed so close to me (note: the lane to his left was empty) that I veered right…right into an opening car door that was opened inches in front of me. As I struggled to maintain balance, another car buzzed me and this time I toppled over onto my right side into an empty parking space directly in front of the Beverly Hills Bike Shop.
I probably terrified the woman in the car. To be fair, I doubt she was at fault. I came at her at a funky angle after reacting to the “JerryBrowning.” Frustrated, scared and filling up with adrenaline I took my helmet off and slammed it into the ground as Gunpowder clattered itself on the asphalt and I walked to the sidewalk. A 6’2 guy acting erratically after a high-stress incident probably seemed like something from another planet to this elderly woman who was gripping her steering wheel and staring at me.
Thank goodness he was able to limp away.
It could have been so much worse.
Broadway make-over; photo by Patrick Pascal
Downtown’s Broadway has long lost the luster that made it the heart of pre-war LA. Now it looks like it could once again become the heart of a revitalized Downtown, as the city gives it a pedestrian, if not bike, friendly makeover.
Frequent bike commuter Patrick Pascal shares a photo showing the work has already begun.
One of yesterday’s links was to the story of a Bermuda Dunes bike rider who was seriously injured in a hit-and-run. Now more information has come out.
And as too often happens, the truth is worse than anything most of us may have imagined.
According to MyDesert.com, 20-year old Liliana Avalos was talking on her cell phone as she drove down Country Club Drive at a high rate of speed, weaving through traffic and passing vehicles in the left turn lanes and right shoulder. She was attempting to pass yet another car on the right when she entered the shoulder and struck the 28-year old victim from behind before speeding off.
And in a sign of just how seriously the courts don’t take traffic crime, she was released within hours on a mere $25,000 bond.
And we wonder why so many people don’t take traffic laws seriously.
Finally, music videos featuring the LA bike scene are becoming a very crowded sub-genre these days.
The latest is from Nashville-based indie-rock band And the Giraffe, who rigged a camera onto the front of a bike with some strapping tape, and rode around greater LA from PCH to the high desert, capturing a number of recognizable vistas.
The whole thing cost them about $200 to make; I’ve seen far worse for a comma and two or three zeros more. They talked about it with KPCC.
It’s nice when government agencies try to bring a little peace to our streets. Let alone when they respond to the demands of bike riders to do something — anything — to improve safety when too damn many people are dying just for riding a bike.
But it would be even nicer if they actually made things better instead worse.
That’s why a group of well-mannered Scot bike riders have written a very polite response asking the Scottish government to pull the campaign and put it where the sun don’t shine.
Okay, so I might have added that last part.
The Nice Way Code is failing in its own terms
At the launch of the Nice Way Code, Transport Minister Keith Brown said, “The Nice Way Code campaign seeks to build a culture of tolerance and patience between cyclists, motorists, pedestrians and all other road users across Scotland.” However, everything that has come out of this campaign – which was paid for out of the active travel budget – seems likely instead to create conflict, reinforcing divisions between people based merely on their mode of transport. One advert encourages cyclists not to run red lights simply in order not to give other cyclists a bad name (and not because it’s dangerous and discourteous, not least to pedestrians) – lumping all cyclists together and implying bad behaviour by a tiny minority justifies hostility to everyone who chooses to ride a bike.
As cyclists we are used to hearing from a few uninformed drivers that ‘all’ cyclists run red lights, ride on the pavement, hold up traffic and generally deserve to be treated like obstacles on the road. But we never expected our own government to run adverts saying the same thing. As nine cyclists have died on Scotland’s roads already this year, it’s unsurprising that this campaign seems to have angered almost everyone who regularly rides a bike.
Safer roads will not come from lecturing people and pandering to stereotypes. We believe they will come from rethinking our current emphasis on designing roads purely for motor traffic and redesigning them to remove the sort of conflicts these adverts reflect. Pending that, it’s clear that many people who don’t ride bikes themselves are unaware of the needs of cyclists on the road. A campaign that really aimed to build a culture of patience and tolerance could have helped to educate them about these things, and to get cyclists, drivers and pedestrians to see things from each others’ point of view. Calling cyclists names is not it.
We urge the Scottish government to recognise that it has made a mistake and to pull this campaign before it ramps up tensions on the road even further. We suggest that it takes this opportunity to start a real dialogue between road users about how we can recognise that we are all people, and behave accordingly.
The letter was signed by over 85 people.
If I lived in Scotland, or thought I might find myself riding there anytime soon, you’d find my name on that list, as well.
Photo by Don Hayashi
Don Hayashi emailed this photo of an apparently legally blocked Marvin Braude bike path in Manhattan Beach, writing:
I’ve always wondered what the criteria was for forcing the bicyclist to walk their bikes at the pier was.
In this case a Manhattan Beach camp employee has set up the barrier so that his charges can cross safely during their lunch break. He said his boss told him he could.
Funny thing he only set up the barrier on one side of the pier. So bikes were still riding from the other direction. I guess it was to inconvenient to set up the other sign.
The municipal code actually says that a public safety officer has to make the decision.
21211. (a) No person may stop, stand, sit, or loiter upon any class I bikeway, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 890.4 of the Streets and Highways Code, or any other public or private bicycle path or trail, if the stopping, standing, sitting, or loitering impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist.
(b) No person may place or park any bicycle, vehicle, or any other object upon any bikeway or bicycle path or trail, as specified in subdivision (a), which impedes or blocks the normal and reasonable movement of any bicyclist unless the placement or parking is necessary for safe operation or is otherwise in compliance with the law.
It’s that damned “safe operation” clause that gets you, which seems to give local governments the authority to shut down bikeways anytime they think it’s appropriate.
As well as write local ordinances like the one linked to above.
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.