No jail time for man in rare case of vehicular manslaughter by bike

Posted by Michael Andersen (News Editor)
on July 24th, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Source: BikePortland

A common interaction on the street. (Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

A common interaction on the street.
(Photo by J.Maus/BikePortland)

A man who killed a person on foot with his bicycle last year won’t serve any jail time in what’s thought to be “the first vehicular manslaughter conviction in the nation involving a bicyclist.”

Prosecutors said Chris Bucchere, 37, of San Francisco, ran “several red lights” and was moving at an estimated 30 mph when he lethally collided with Sutchi Hui, 71, in a crosswalk, as Slate and other outlets reported Tuesday. Hui survived for four days before dying.

“The light turned yellow as I was approaching the intersection, but I was already way too committed to stop,” Bucchere reportedly wrote on Mission Cycling Club’s biking forum. “I laid it down and just plowed through the crowded crosswalk in the least-populated place I could find.”

Bucchere plead guilty Tuesday and will get three years of probation and 1,000 hours of mandatory community service.

BikePortland reader Anne Fischer, who lives in Sellwood/Westmoreland, wrote BikePortland to say this about the unusual case:

Personally, I find it appalling that a reckless bicyclist – he’d just run several red lights prior to the collision – fatally hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk and gets off with three years of probation and 1,000 hours of community service. If a car driver had been the agent of this pedestrian’s death and received the same sentence, I would be equally appalled.

Another reason I’d like this story to be reported in BikePortland is because BP commenters will periodically claim that bikes have such small mass that they pose little danger, and certainly not life-threatening danger, to pedestrians.

In light of our ongoing conversation about the too-common violence on Portland’s streets, we wanted to share the Bucchere verdict and Fischer’s perspective. Though this awful situation is certainly uncommon, hopefully there’s something to be learned from it.