The story of a San Francisco cyclist who plowed into a pedestrian on March 29 and then apparently took to a bicycle blog forum to tell his side of the story is blowing up on the Web.
Chris Bucchere allegedly struck 71-year-old Sutchi Hui—who later died—at a busy San Francisco intersection, and then identified himself as the rider in the crash on a public Google group for the Mission Cycling Club .
The incident is making waves on the blog-o-sphere as readers weigh in on the cyclist's story. The post, which has since been removed from the forum, read in part, "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, … so, in a nutshell, blammo."
The rider goes on, "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."
Hui died, but the medical examiner's report has not yet been released. In a statement to Yahoo News, the spokeswoman for the San Francisco District Attorney, Stephanie Ong Stillman, noted that the office is keeping an eye on the case, although no charges have been filed. Stillman emphasized, "We take pedestrian traffic fatalities very, very seriously."
Apparently so do many readers of blog forums, who weighed in on Bucchere's alleged actions. One biker wrote on SFist:
"It takes just one (bleeping) jerk like Chris to give a bad name to the countless other bikers whom obey laws and ride safely." Another added, speaking directly to Bucchere, "Your irresponsibility injured (and ultimately killed) a man and you took to the Internet to tell your story? Yeah, you deserve jail time."
Kevin LaKritz, a founder of Mission Cycling Club, learned of the incident through the public post, and told Yahoo News, "It's terrible, our thoughts go out to the family." LaKritz said of the post , "Everyone was shocked and horrified when they read it. It's not what Mission Cycling is about. It's about creating a community through cycling." He added, "We don't condone reckless riding in any way."
Bicycling is a popular way to get around San Francisco, and while bike accidents that lead to pedestrian fatalities are rare, this is now the second incident to make headlines this year. Recently, 23-year-old Randolph Ang pled guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter for running a red light and hitting a 68-year-old pedestrian who also died.
In a statement on its website, the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Executive Director Leah Shahum denounced bad behavior on two wheels or four: "While we recognize that this case is still under investigation, we are deeply troubled by the just-released online account of the incident."
She added,"As advocates working for safer streets, we condemn reckless behavior—whether on a bicycle or in a car. Those who put others in danger should be held accountable for their actions."
Bucchere's Twitter, LinkedIn and website accounts are gone. But the social media trail that's left, if it checks out, won't exactly help Bucchere's case.