Cyclist involved in fatal S.F. crash was coming from Marin Headlands ride
Apr 05, 2012 (The Marin Independent Journal - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The cyclist who struck a 71-year-old pedestrian -- who later died -- at the intersection of Castro and Market streets in San Francisco last week was returning from a group ride in the Marin Headlands, according to a detailed message he apparently posted the day of the accident. Other online messages indicate the cyclist may have been speeding down the hill on Castro Street just before the accident.
The crash occurred just after 8 a.m. March 29 when the cyclist struck Sutchi Hui, of San Bruno, as he crossed the street in the crosswalk, authorities said. Both Hui and the cyclist were taken to the hospital, San Francisco police Officer Albie Esparza said.
Hui died Monday, according to the San Francisco Medical Examiner's Office. The agency is still investigating the cause of death, a spokesman said.
Doctors treated the cyclist for non-life-threatening injuries and released him. Police are still investigating the accident and whether the cyclist may have run a red light, Esparza said.
"The inspectors have been meeting with the (District Attorney's) office to see what the next step would be, and the cause of death has not been determined," Esparza said Thursday.
No arrest has been made in the case, and officers haven't released the cyclist's name.
However, in a message written March 29 to the Mission Cycling Club of San Francisco's Google group, a poster named Chris Bucchere identifies himself as the cyclist and
describes the crash in detail. Bucchere isn't one of the cycling club's 150 official members but has participated in group rides and is one of about 800 people in the Google group, said Dylan DiBona, one of the club's founders.
"This is not the kind of cycling behavior that we condone," DiBona said, noting that Bucchere had already separated from the group at the time of the crash.
In his posting, Bucchere notes that he was returning from the club's informal twice-weekly Pre-Dawn Headlands Raid ride from San Francisco to the top of Hawk Hill.
"Around 8 a.m. I was descending Divisadero Street southbound and about to cross Market Street," Bucchere writes in the message. "The light turned yellow as I was approaching the intersection, but I was already way too committed to stop. The light turned red as I was cruising through the middle of the intersection and then, almost instantly, the southern crosswalk on Market and Castro filled up with people coming from both directions.
"I couldn't see a line through the crowd and I couldn't stop, so I laid it down and just plowed through the crowded crosswalk in the least-populated place I could find," he continued. "I don't remember the next five minutes but when I came to, I was in a neck brace being loaded into an ambulance. I remember seeing a RIVER of blood on the asphalt, but it wasn't mine. Apparently I hit a 71-year-old male pedestrian and he ended up in the ICU with pretty serious head injuries. I really hope he ends up OK."
Bucchere ends his account by dedicating the story "to my late helmet."
"May she die knowing that because she committed the ultimate sacrifice, her rider can live on and ride on," he said. "Can I get an amen?"
Other online cycling messages refer to a GPS image of Bucchere's ride on the popular site Strava that apparently showed him going down the hill at 35.2 miles per hour. The speed limit on Castro at Market is 25 miles per hour, a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency spokesman said.
The Independent Journal couldn't verify the veracity of those postings because the ride record has since been deleted on Strava.
Bucchere couldn't be reached for comment Thursday by phone or email.
Peggy Clark, a "share the road" program manager for the Marin County Bicycle Coalition, said she wasn't familiar with the details of the San Francisco case but noted that all vehicles need to share the streets responsibly. She called the crash "a very tragic horrible situation."
"We all need to ... operate our vehicles and/or devices and bicycles within the law with responsibility," Clark said. "If we're driving through the Castro, where there's a lot of people crossing intersections, then we need to drive slower and we need to ride slower. It's that awareness that we have to have when we're sharing the road with at least three users.
"We have to manage and drive our cars under control so a bicycle needs to be able to do that as well," she said.
Clark noted that Kaiser Permanente has sponsored the coalition's basic street skills classes for cyclists for the rest of the year, making them free for participants.
For information on the classes, go to http://www.marinbike.org/Resources/BikeEd.shtml.
Contact Jessica Bernstein-Wax at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter at http://twitter.com/jbwax.
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