Today’s Headlines

  • Killer DUI Motorcyclist Gets Probation (SFChron, SFBay, Hoodline)
  • A Look at Commuting Patterns in the Bay Area (SFist)
  • Lifting Height Limit for Housing in the Mission (Socketsite)
  • More on Plane that Crashed on BART Hayward Yard (SFChron)
  • More on Bike Party (SFChron)
  • More on BART Voltage Spikes (SFist)
  • Sonoma Marin Train Will be First in Nation Completely with Positive Train Control (MarinIJ)
  • Spare the Air Day (Almanac)
  • Santa Rosa Transit Village (MarinIJ)
  • San Mateo Focuses on Highway Interchange as Transportation Funds Tighten (SMDailyJournal)
  • Burlingame Discusses Housing on Bayfront (SMDailyJournal)

Get national headlines at Streetsblog USA
Get state headlines at Streetsblog CA

  • jd_x

    Re: Killer DUI Motorcyclist Gets Probation

    Un-fricking-believable. This guy as drunk and killed somebody, and doesn’t even get his licensed revoked for life! This sort of insane addiction to cars — that a legal system doesn’t even think that this sort of a person should never drive again — is why DUIs will continue and Vision Zero will never be realized. There needs to be zero tolerance for this. You are over the limit and you seriously injury or kill somebody, you never drive again (in addition to any other punishment like fines and jail time/probation).

  • SF Guest

    I agree the sentence was lenient, but to use the term “This sort of insane addiction to cars” for a DUI motorcycle case is stretching it.

    Defense attorney Doron Weinberg said that the plea agreement reflected the fact that the collision was “essentially unavoidable,” even if Makepeace had not been drinking:
    “The street was obstructed by cable cars and Mr. Morante was walking the middle of a dark street with his back to traffic.”

  • murphstahoe

    that is horseshit. What fool sees a dark road obstructed by cable cars and hits the gas.

  • SF Guest

    Don’t shoot the messenger. That was the defense’s argument which led to his sentence. By the judge’s own admission he wanted to give him a harder sentence and told him he felt it was too lenient.

  • San Francisco is the best place for a consequence-free DUI in the entire state. Unless you kill someone you can almost always plea bargain it down.

    http://karenlynnallen.blogspot.com/2013/01/drunk-driving-in-san-francisco.html

    And now we see even if you do kill someone, all you get is one-year home detention. Of course if you’re bicycling and hit someone, even if sober, that’s another story . . .

  • SF Guest

    That was not my main point. I only included the defense attorney’s argument as an FYI, and I should have known you would make that the main point.

    My main point is DUI motorcycle manslaughter in this case doesn’t involve “This sort of insane addiction to cars.”

  • RichLL

    Murph raises a good point though. If we accept for a moment the court’s view that this accident would have happened anyway, even if the cyclist had been sober, then a fair assessment would be to decompose the accident into two separate factors:

    1) The cyclist was DUI. That’s against the law and is typically punished by loss of license, typically about 5K in fines and costs, and possible attendance at drink or drug abuse classes.

    2) The cyclist did not intend the collision but was negligent (because he was going too fast, or whatever). For this case, the drink is irrelevant and in fact such issues are typically resolved via lawsuits, civil claims and insurance payouts.

    If this Cable Car worker effectively caused his own death by, say, jumping out in front of the cyclist, then it’s important to take into account that a stone cold sober cyclist would still have hit him.

    Chris Bucchere was sober when he killed a pedestrian on his bike, but his negligence was probably greater than in this case. Neither went to prison (other than time served).

  • murphstahoe

    The issue is that we don’t consider killing someone with a car to be a big deal compared to killing someone in some other manner, because well, we all need our cars, and shit happens.

    This is why we see sentences where DUI killers have their license revoked but with an exception for going to work and back, because taking someone’s license away is seen as too onerous – their job is more important than the fact that they have proven to be unreliable behind the wheel. Because our priorities in this arena are out of wack.

    This is the primary reason I favor the self driving cars – they remove the argument that losing a drivers license is too onerous, because there is an alternative

  • murphstahoe

    If we accept for a moment the court’s view that this accident would have happened anyway, even if the cyclist had been sober,

    Is this some sort of fruedian troll?

  • RichLL

    Excuse me. did you even read the citation? Here is it again:

    “Defense attorney Doron Weinberg said that the plea agreement reflected the fact that the collision was “essentially unavoidable,” even if Makepeace had not been drinking”

    A plea agreement means that the DA agreed with the defense, and the court ratified that view.

  • murphstahoe

    if the “cyclist” had been sober

    The term “cyclist” is generally not used for persons on a motorcycle. Biker, maybe.

  • RichLL

    You are missing a huge point. If I shoot you, then that was probably my intent.

    But if my gun accidentally goes off while we are out hunting then, while you are equally dead, the crucial difference is that I did not intend your death.

    Murder is deliberate; accidents are not deliberate although they may still be crimes

    Equating first degree murder with unfortunate road accidents is highly prejudicial

  • RichLL

    Either way, the meaning of “the accident would have happened anyway, regardless of drink” matters.

    But I’d agree that both this case and the Bucchere case clearly demonstrate that bikes, whether motorized or not, can kill.

  • jd_x

    I stand by my statement. And I don’t believe that this incident was “unavoidable”. That’s what the defense says in just about *every* motorist vs pedestrian/bicyclist collision, and it’s only true if you assume motorists/motorcyclists can drive fast when it’s dark in a dense city and have no obligation to slow down. Just look at that location:
    https://goo.gl/maps/zdiyLxZit3T2

    We all know people get on and off cable cars in random spots and often into the middle of the road; you can see it happening in this very Google image! To operate a powerful vehicle in this area without anticipating somebody being in the road and then hitting and killing them — while drunk no less — is entirely irresponsible and absolves anyone from ever being able to operate such a powerful vehicle again. The “addiction to cars” comes in because we have decided that it’s more important motor vehicles being able to pass through quickly rather than allowing people to use them to get around. Even if the operator should have looked before stepping off of the cable car, we should never design a system where the punishment for this is death. Vehicles need to travel slow and anticipate these movements so they can stop (and the City shares some responsibility for designing our roads this way in the first place).

  • thielges

    Yes, this is the crux of why we are so lenient on killing via motor vehicle. A certain amount of maiming and death is considered business as usual.

    Part of the issue is that the jury is comprised of mostly drivers who identify with the defendant. “What if I were to make a mistake that kills someone? I’m not a bad person. Neither is the defendant.”

    It does however make good sense to keep nonviolent offenders out of jail and on the job though. But allowing them to keep their license is a farce. Why not expect violators to use Lyft/Uber/taxi/Aunt Jane to get to work while their license is suspended? Consider it part of the financial penalty.

  • RichLL

    That is fine but now you have gotten way away from the facts of this case and have instead entered into a generic complaint that the current laws, customs and practices do allow vehicles to move at a legal speed which will, on occasions, lead to the death of someone who jumps out in front of them.

    In other words our voters have decided that, say, a 5 mph speed limit is not in the public interest even if that means that Vision Zero is not just a meaningless slogan. We don’t want to drive so slowly that every pedestrian is immunized against their own bad judgement.

    Safety is one issue and throughput/capacity is another, and they conflict. We can absolutely understand why you personally consider one more important than the other. But what if the majority of voters and jurors (75% of them drivers) quite simply do not agree with you?

    What’s your plan here to trump the silent majority?

  • SF Guest

    From the DMV:

    I’ve just been arrested for DUI. What happens now?
    The officer is required by law to immediately forward a copy of the completed notice of suspension or revocation form and any driver license taken into possession, with a sworn report to the DMV. The DMV automatically conducts an administrative review that includes an examination of the officer’s report, the suspension or revocation order, and any test results. If the suspension or revocation is upheld during the administrative review, you may request a hearing to contest the suspension or revocation.

    You have the right to request a hearing from the DMV within 10 days of receipt of the suspension or revocation order. If the review shows there is no basis for the suspension or revocation, the action will be set aside. You will be notified by the DMV in writing only if the suspension or revocation is set aside following the administrative review.

  • SF Guest

    The plea agreement reflected the victim walked with his back against traffic on a dark street.

  • jd_x

    I’m not sure what this has to do anything. We can make the laws say whatever we want.

  • SF Guest

    The victim ironically may have made a wrong presumption he would be safe walking against vehicular traffic based on stopped cable cars which may explain why his back was against traffic. A car would not have been able to weave between the cable cars.

  • Small victory today: I was riding towards downtown on Market Street on the block with the raised bike lane. Ahead was a double parked Coca-Cola delivery truck. But the truck was stopped in the car lane, not the bike lane, inconveniencing the three cars traveling down the block with me but not the five bicyclists. I was so astonished I almost took a picture. Progress?

  • murphstahoe

    On the other hand, in Santa Rosa a 77 year old woman just got 7 years in the big house for a DUI killing

    http://www.pressdemocrat.com/news/5759629-181/elderly-santa-rosa-woman-gets?gallery=5108643&artslide=0

    I’m not sure what to think about this one. Basically free assisted living. for an elderly woman. In this case perhaps a severe and no-exceptions allowed house arrest with a monitoring bracelet may have done the trick. Certainly she needs to be removed from society as a three time loser – she’s a proven recividist

  • RichLL

    This case: Third offense and drink was a factor

    The motorcycle case: First offense and drink was not a factor

    That said I really don’t see the point of throwing a 77 year old woman into a state prison.

  • murphstahoe

    “The motorcycle case: First offense and drink was not a factor”

    #facepalm

  • RichLL

    Murph, the plea agreement clearly states that drink was not a factor, and that the accident would have happened anyway. That means the DA agrees with the defense that was the case and the judge approved the agreement.

    So, sorry, but you are wrong. Glib hashtags are no substitute for the facts.

  • Alyssascooper2

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