In a case we've been watching since March, the cyclist who hit, and ultimately killed, an elderly pedestrian in a crowded intersection of the Castro District, pleased not guilty last week to felony vehicular manslaughter.
The 36-year-old San Francisco man was accused of speeding recklessly and running stop signs while riding his bicycle downhill through several intersections. He struck a 71-year-old-man who sustained catastrophic injuries and died four days after the accident.
This was the third bicycle-pedestrian death in the Bay Area within the past year. Coincidently, the San Francisco area has seen a 71-percent increase in bicyclists on our streets since 2007.
The cyclist has been free on a $150,000 bond since the accident and continues to work at his software developer job. He claims he could not stop and laid the bike down in the least crowed spot of the crosswalk and plowed through the pedestrians.
Police have several witnesses and surveillance videos that estimate his speed at 35 miles per hour. Since the rider was trying to set a speed record for the popular virtual bike race website for cyclists called Strava, authorities were able to use the biker's own GPS against him.
As we mentioned in last week's entry regarding the Strava lawsuit, it is possible that liability for the wrongful death of anyone may not just be in the hands of the person who caused the inappropriate behavior, but may also lie with any party that encouraged or motivated that behavior. Negligence certainly lies in the hands of the bicyclist who was clearly going too fast to control his bike, but it's also possible that he experienced a malfunction of the bike's brakes just prior to the collision.
Source: msnbc.com, "Cyclist accused of vehicular manslaughter over pedestrian's death pleads not guilty," June 21, 2012