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  1.  

    murphstahoe

    OK, let’s try one. Man is headed to work, has to drop off the child at daycare. Gets a cellphone call from a client, takes the call – using his hands free – and forgets to drop the child off at daycare. Arrives at work, goes into the office, returns to his car 9 hours later and his son is dead. No charges. Discuss. Oh yes, three times during the day his car alarm went off and he remotely deactivated it. True story.

    The primary reaction to these cases is that there needs to be technology added to cars to prevent this sort of thing from happening. But there is ZERO drive to make roadway changes to prevent this sort of pedestrian death from happening. The pedestrian should behave better we say, and punish their mistakes – but we empathize with the driver and instead of admonishing them we sympathize and try to figure out how to mitigate their mistakes, not punish them.

  2.  

    murphstahoe

    The driver in the first story crossed against a red light through a high speed road. If there was a child in one of the cars, would said driver be charged by George Gascon with felony child endangerment? Given recent events, I consider it a perfectly accurate parallel.

  3.  

    gneiss

    That’s exactly right. Despite all the new pedestrian oriented development along Mission Street, the streetscape essentially remains the same as it was in the 1930′s after the streetcar tracks were ripped up in the neighborhood. The irony of the crossing at mid-block on this street is that the light was not installed for safety, but to facilitate faster movement of cars. If the crosswalk wasn’t signalized, car drivers would be responsible for yielding to pedestrians which would have lead to slower speeds on the street. A properly designed street with slower moving cars next to pedestrians would have avoided this tragedy.

  4.  

    Luce Morales

    Without knowing those specific cases, I wouldn’t know what circumstances mitigated in favor of the negligent parent(s). In this case, I believe the person who led a child to her death in a crosswalk, against the light, in oncoming traffic, should be prosecuted and punished.

  5.  

    murphstahoe

    Cut the truck driver a break. He will have to live his whole life with that guilt!

  6.  

    murphstahoe

    Sure we do. Hundreds of parents have left their child to die in a car seat on a hot day after forgetting that the child was in the car. And the majority are not charged. A recurring theme in all the cases I researched exactly matched Mario’s themes.

    I believe this is because the DA/Police empathize with drivers and not pedestrians. And there was a clear racial and class divide between those who were charged and those who were not.

  7.  

    Luce Morales

    I believe the person who led a two-year old into oncoming traffic and left her there should be punished. I hope the DA agrees.

  8.  

    Mario Tanev

    Exemptions are an example of judgment. If you’ve followed the course of road-related deaths in SF you will know that San Francisco prosecutors use their prosecutorial judgment a lot. And it tends to favor drivers who kill people because they think a jury won’t convict (and because they empathize with drivers). What is a jury? It’s a representation of society since US society is automobile-bound, they also tend to empathize with drivers. Certainly, from the windshield perspective it may seem that a death of a relative is not punishment enough (it’s not just guilt, it’s a great loss to that person!). But if the jury consisted of people who lost a relative, that jury would not find the person guilty.

    In essence, we empathize more with a mundane act (driving a car) than with the pain and loss inflicted by a loss of a relative. That is, who are you to make a mistake on the road as a vulnerable user, if that disturbs my right to the road in my tin can, where my mistakes carry no guilt?

  9.  

    Tim Bracken

    Without a trial, we’ll never know beyond a reasonable doubt whether his claim was true or false, but I draw your attention to this sentence in the article you cited: “Surveillance footage from cameras mounted near the intersection was
    inconclusive, but a prosecution witness testified at Bucchere’s
    preliminary hearing that the bicyclist had raced through three red
    lights before striking Hui.”

    Also, there’s this from the Examiner: “Three witnesses have testified that Bucchere ran a red light while
    riding southbound on Castro Street and did not slow down when he struck
    Hui.”

    http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/san-francisco-cyclist-chris-bucchere-accused-of-felony-manslaughter-was-bike-safety-instructor/Content?oid=2320717

  10.  

    Nicholas Littlejohn

    Only one thousand area parking spots will remain? I’m incensed!

  11.  

    Luce Morales

    We don’t give people exemptions from the rule of law because their guilt is ‘punishment enough.’ Perhaps you’re watching too many soap operas.

  12.  

    Mario Tanev

    If you think prison time is a better lesson than the death of a niece, you’re delusional. Think again.

  13.  

    Luce Morales

    > There is no such thing as punishment for its own sake.

    I disagree. I believe punishment teaches the perpetrator a lesson, as you say yourself, and that’s one of the principal purposes of the criminal justice system. That’s it. I don’t think we’re going to get any closer than that. Good night.

  14.  

    Mario Tanev

    There is no such thing as punishment for its own sake. It is used to provide peace of mind to the victims or relatives, to teach the perpetrator a lesson and so on. In this case it serves no purpose. Nobody benefits.

  15.  

    Luce Morales

    You almost got there with “prevention of recidivism (avoiding a repeat offense) and re-education” but you left out PUNISHMENT for the wrongdoer. This is also one of the principal purposes of the justice system.
    PS: No need to dumb anything down as you patronizingly put it. I can read and comprehend, and I believe I am sharing opinions with you in an articulate and respectful manner, though we disagree. But thanks.

  16.  

    Mario Tanev

    Ok, again, but dumbed down.

    The justice system serves several purposes: deterrence (discouraging people from committing a crime), prevention of recidivism (avoiding a repeat offense), re-education (preparing for a better return to society), societal calm (where society doesn’t resort to vigilanteism) and yes… retribution (or piece of mind for the victim).

    This serves none of those purposes. It’s like capital punishment for people who want to commit suicide. Pointless and cruel.

  17.  

    Luce Morales

    > The greater society?

    Ah, yes. So the next irresponsible/stupid/lazy adult may think better of it and wait for the light rather than lead children into traffic. Thinking like yours – in which a person responsible for the death of a loved one has/will ‘suffer enough’ – is what’s wrong with society, not so-called “disproportionate justice.” What’s disproportionate about it? The aunt is equally responsible for the death as the driver – if not more. But for her actions, the child would be alive.

  18.  

    Fran Taylor

    Quite a difference in the pronto police work ferreting out video to exonerate a driver, in contrast to their lack of interest in video evidence against the truck driver who killed Amelie Le Moullac at 6th and Folsom.

  19.  

    Mario Tanev

    And who benefits from the charge? The other relatives? The greater society? Nobody does.

    But society would benefit if the driver is arrested. Thinking like yours is what’s wrong with our society. It’s disproportionate justice with rules for the sake of them, rather than for actual safety.

  20.  

    NoeValleyJim

    If she had only run over the toddler with an automobile, she would have gotten off scott free, with no charges filed.

  21.  

    Will Lowry

    What the aunt did was probably very normal, but with tragic consequences. She may have been simply trying to cross Mission St. with twin 2 year olds. Charging her with a felony will help decrease future serious injuries no more than a mini ticket blitz for pedestrians will — meaning not at all. As per Vision Zero, the focus should be on making the streets safer with the specific measurement of lessening serious injuries. Look into Sweden’s Vision Zero. Slowing traffic at pedestrian crossings is germane to the whole approach.

  22.  

    KAM

    I have a disability and got my placard 19 years ago. If I’m remembering correctly, a new placard has been mailed to me every 2 years since then without me having to get a doctor’s signature. Why have I not read the suggestion that our doctors must fill out the paperwork each time our placard expires? For those of us with disabilities, I’m sure we’d have no problem getting a doc to sign this. Maybe this could weed out some of the cheaters?

  23.  

    Luce Morales

    The only victim is the two-year old. If you leave a child in the middle of a crosswalk with oncoming traffic, your action potentially harms the child, as it did in this case. What’s so difficult to understand? I hope the DA throws the book at auntie.

  24.  

    NoeValleyJim

    It is great that people are being priced out of car ownership, if that is in fact happened. People should not be driving in a dense urban area at all.

    I know it will take a while to get there and that some people have to drive in the meantime, but we should be discouraging automobile use as much as possible.

  25.  

    NoeValleyJim

    Not even close to true. When someone steps into an automobile and turns the ignition, they immediately pollute the air around them. This pollution kills 60,000 Americans annually.

    And then when they go into the street, they transfer risk to the people around them. Someone in an auto is far more likely to injure or kill a pedestrian, cyclist or fellow car driver than someone on an automobile. Like an order of magnitude greater.

    So no, they are not similar at all. Everyone driving a car threatens the safety of and injures the respiratory system of everyone around them. Very few cyclists do the same.

  26.  

    Karen Lynn Allen

    I’m having a hard time with the SFPD version of the story. No one in their right mind crosses against the light on Mission Street with two-year-old twins. No one. No matter how much of a hurry they might be in. So perhaps the aunt wasn’t in her right mind, or perhaps she didn’t cross against a red. I don’t know. But I seriously doubt it’s an issue of a pedestrian feeling overly entitled.

  27.  

    p_chazz

    It was just a joke. Take it in the spirit in which it was intended. Considering how many jokes you guys make at the expense of Rob Anderson, you are pretty thin skinned when you are the subject.

    PS For the record I am opposed to Prop L so I am not part of some vast conspiracy. Suggest you take off your tin foil hat.

  28.  

    Mario Tanev

    Two important questions.

    1. What is an effective deterrent? If you’re a pedestrian violating the rules, you risk your life or that of your relatives (in this case, your niece). That’s certainly a much more effective deterrent than a fine, or an arrest. An arrest here serves no deterrent purpose. On the other hand, drivers may not value someone else’s life as highly as their freedom.

    2. Who does your action harm? If you’re a pedestrian, you harm yourself. If you’re a driver you harm someone else.

    What has happened here is a travesty on both counts. It’s like capital punishment for suicidal tendencies. It targets the victim. Even if the victim is irresponsible, it makes no sense. The fact that the victim has been arrested and the perpetrator is still at large is a double travesty.

  29.  

    Lynda M O

    I only use mine when I absolutely need to as well and I know that this is true for many of us.

  30.  

    Lynda M O

    My handicap placard can be the difference between being able to get a few groceries or going without due to a disability that no one can see with my clothes on !~! Just because I am not carrying an oxygen tank or limping or using an assistive device doesn’t mean that my heart condition makes it possible to walk more than twenty five feet in any given day some weeks. No one can see a spinal cord or traumatic brain injury except the people who deal with it and yet without access to nearby and very easy to find parking, people who suffer with disabilities like these and othrs are even more severely hobbled in their attempts to do their activities of daily living.

    I look like I could play 90 minutes of soccer without breathing hard–looks can be very deceiving…

  31.  

    Luce Morales

    > Does she deserve to be charged as a felon for it, while she wasn’t the one piloting a motor vehicle?
    You don’t understand the charge. The aunt is being charged for placing the child in a perilous situation that was foreseeable. And race has nothing to do with it. Whatever your race, you’re not supposed to leave two year-olds in a crosswalk, in the middle of oncoming traffic. Really, is there no example of irresponsible behavior by adults that we won’t bend over backwards to condone?

  32.  

    peternatural

    It was never proven that he ran a red light. He claims he entered on the yellow, which is legal.

    http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Cyclist-pleads-guilty-in-Castro-crosswalk-death-4680814.php

  33.  

    NoeValleyJim

    Stefan Kuftedjian is a real sweetheart, he has been sued for doing damage with his automobile before.

    http://www.plainsite.org/dockets/wklludmr/superior-court-of-california-county-of-san-francisco/city-and-county-of-san-francisco-a-municipal-corp-v-stef/

  34.  

    Jym Dyer

    @JJ94117 – 2 such incidents in the last 24 years, possibly longer. But since Bucchere is pretty much the only argument some people have, we can be assured to hear his name used as Ye One True Exemplar of Bicyclist Misbehavior for the next 24 years.

  35.  

    Jym Dyer

    @Coco – It is considered polite to have some familiarity with the topics under discussion, a courtesy that goes back to the early days of the Internet, when F.A.Q.s were created so that newcomers didn’t just ask the same questions over and over again. Except in your case you aren’t even asking questions, you’re making an assertion that has been thoroughly addressed and debunked already here.

  36.  

    Jym Dyer

    ≈ The playbook resembles the one we saw in use in NYC, in that all sorts of things were misattributed to various groups, including the now-classic Bike Lobby (“an all-powerful enterprise”). NYC’s Department of Transportation countered with cold hard data, so their version of the No-On-L crowd just had to gibber about how the data was made up, DoT was lying, Janette Sadik-Khan had bike advocates on speed dial, etc. etc. Seems to me that SFMTA ought to be getting the cold hard data out there.

    We should also listen to our Golden Wheel Award keynote speakers more. This year, Aaron Naparstek gave a great presentation on the backlash (the #bikelash if you’re on Twitter) in NYC, and what we learned from it. Sadik-Khan was here last year and showed how effective a data-driven approach can be.

  37.  

    Jym Dyer

    #ThanksLeah

  38.  

    Jym Dyer

    @p_chazz – It’s pretty interesting how many cowardly anonymous commenters in various Bay Area online media keep making the same assertions, and continue to do so after corrected. That’s not a mixup, it’s a strategy of lying, and it’s done because 1) it’s inflammatory and 2) the truth is not on their side.

  39.  

    voltairesmistress

    1) It is not humanly possible to always hold onto a child’s hand, and placing that 100% absolute standard on guardians is unreasonable, but popular in today’s America. Anything bad happens to a child, blame the parent or guardian for inattention.

    2) It is not okay in a pedestrian-rich, city-street environment to operate a motor vehicle either fast or slowly but in a manner that has the driver not noticing hitting something or someone in a painted crosswalk. Having the light does not absolve any of us drivers from observing what is in front of us.

    3) Race, income, and education very much affect how a person is treated by the police and whether said person will be perceived as irresponsible/criminal or as a sympathetic victim. I am not injecting race into this story. I am acknowledging it.

  40.  

    voltairesmistress

    I am not sure, but I look to see if the membership rolls of groups like WalkSF, transit rider unions, and various bicycle coalitions are growing. I suspect these groups would be the place to launch organizing campaigns to reach out to politicians. Formal lobbying and PACs have to operate under stricter tax status, but surely San Jose citizens concerned about Park Street could investigate these options.

  41.  

    RoyTT

    I do not think that making a race issue out of this tragedy is going to help. There is nothing in what has bee reported that indicates the relevance of race.

    I do not know if you have any children but I do, and I can tell you that you cannot let go of the hand of a two year old child for even a second. They can run between two parked cars and get killed in an instant, and trying to blame the driver in a situation like that is really missing the point. Parents and minders have an absolute and affirmative obligation to not only not leave an infant alone, but not even let go of their hand in a public place.

    That is not to say that she should be prosecuted. I cannot say based on the facts. But there is clear negligence here and an abandonment of the duty of care.

    Also, you do not know that the driver was going “fast”. Two mph might have been all it takes to kill an infant who runs out in front of a car. The situation should never have gotten to that point.

    And yes, it matters whether the light was green or red, at least in terms of establishing liability. If the driver had a green, was driving at a reasonable speed, and did not see the child, then I think that most reasonable people would not blame him (or her – the driver could have been a “black woman”, of course)..

    That said, there is a concern that the driver left the scene. Doing so deliberately points to culpability. But assuming that the driver did not see the child and could not avoid the accident, then the question becomes whether the driver could have hit an infant and not realized. That is hard to believe if the pedestrian was an adult. But at night with a small infant who possibly ran out at the last minute? It’s certainly possible.

    The driver may have felt a bump but would that have felt different than hitting other kinds of obstacles and obstructions in the street? I once hit a cat and didn’t realize it.

    I don’t know and neither do you. So it might be better to reserve judgement until we have more facts.

  42.  

    voltairesmistress

    Another black woman arrested for child endangerment. Because she did not negotiate a dangerous street with 20/20 perfect hindsight. Because she momentarily turned from one child in the crosswalk to get its twin on the curb to come with them. Because she may have jaywalked when no cars appeared to be nearby. Because this 25 year old auntie was trying to manage two 2-year olds,
    alone, at night, and she misjudged a quickly changing situation.

    Then Bam. A driver going so fast that he/she may not even know he/she killed child. Who in God’s name cares if the light was green or red? Why is this grieving woman (of probably limited financial means) arrested and stigmatized so easily? Meanwhile the police just want to talk to his car driver. Meanwhile, go ahead drivers and kill at will, as long as you have the right of way.

    And this: “Pedestrians feel their speed and their hurry is more important than
    their safety,” said Sgt. John Bragagnolo, after handing a jaywalking
    ticket to one man in the shadow of a memorial shrine of stuffed animals,
    candles and photos of the little girl.”

    I can’t say here what I think of the SFPD.

  43.  

    Gezellig

    Yup. So then the logical conclusion is the need to build more and more separated lanes, which incidentally really help motorists. Why?

    –> Gets bikes out of the way, especially on bigger thoroughfares. People on bikes happy. People in cars happy. Bike compliance goes up. Car compliances goes up. Hardly anyone *wants* to do scofflaw things like ride on sidewalks but those are coping strategies in the face of utter lack of infrastructure.

    –> “Converts” some car trips to bike trips = less car traffic. A car’s worst-enemy competition for parking and driving space is other cars, not bikes.

    That being said, the TED talk in the thread above addresses the problematic issues involved with an obsession about helmets.

    The biggest way to increase bike safety is to simply have more and more people doing it. Unfortunately you don’t get there by slapping sharrows on a 45mph expressway, asking drivers to be nice and having the helmeted mayor do a photo op where he asks drivers to please be nicer (and yelling at people on bike when they have the audacity to “not keep up” and act like a car at every point in the road whose laws and features are designed almost entirely exclusively for….not bikes).

    That’s not serious policy.

    Btw, though both biking and walking are overwhelmingly safe activities it’s statistically less safe to walk than to bike–fatalities per mile are much higher per person on foot than on bike, but since walking is something most people do (while biking isn’t) there’s somewhat of a:

    1) herd protection effect
    2) ubiquity = must be safe conflation (similar to the way many people who drive–even poorly–feel very safe in their cars while they’re freaked out about flying which is practically safer than most anything else, including taking a nap on the couch in your living room).

    Yet no one proposes helmets for pedestrians and drivers. These kinds of requirements (whether mandated by law or cultural expectation) are not rooted in reality.

  44.  

    Prinzrob

    This very nice 1.6-mile gap closure in the Iron Horse Trail south of Dublin/Pleasanton BART was officially opened yesterday. Every speaker on the podium made a pitch for Alameda County’s transportation Measure BB coming up on the November ballot. http://www.pleasantonweekly.com/news/2014/08/20/pleasanton-concord-trail-extension-finished

  45.  

    Jacob Lynn

    Two minutes of research demonstrates that the location in question is actually a street shared with cars: https://www.google.com/maps/@52.37222,4.900556,3a,59.9y,192.53h,81.93t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sOythpJ599jkQkESdaFPSQA!2e0

    But you inadvertently hit the nail on the head when you identify that the problem is that cyclists are forced to ride in heavily trafficked car thoroughfares for lack of safe, separated routes.

  46.  

    coolbabybookworm

    No mention of the license either. I guess the assumption is that he’ll be driving himself home from jail? Because … freedom?

  47.  

    Aaron Bialick

    We generally include all of the above (with the exception that we generally link to development-focused items only if there’s a strong transportation link).

    The fact is there happened to be none of those to link to today, and that’s why you may have the perception that you do.

    Unlike the difference in size with NYC, there aren’t quite enough crashes or staff resources to warrant a “weekly carnage” post for SF. Doing so wouldn’t open up room for more non-crash stories in the headlines. Once again, we are not omitting them in the first place.

  48.  

    murphstahoe

    “I’m just saying, jerk cyclists who act like they own the roads are just as much of a problem, if not more of one, than the cars.”

    Cyclists are definitely more of a problem than the cars – because cars are inanimate objects. However, I assert that cyclists are less of a problem than motorists.

    My example, where a motorist drove onto the sidewalk and injured three people, is a pretty big problem, not replicated by any cyclist.

    Presuming you meant motorists, can you give me statistics that back that up? Say for example, fatalities/injuries caused by cyclists and similar statistics for motorists? If you don’t consider “fatalities/injuries” to be an appropriate problem to consider, feel free to cite statistics for any other problem that cyclists contribute more to than motorists.

  49.  

    voltairesmistress

    Hi Aaron, thanks for replying. I understand that a lack of funds and a need for local focus would point the headlines section in a particular direction. But I do think there are local findings that are more thought provoking, whether it is a policy paper from SPUR or a study by Stanford or an editorial at TheGreaterMarin, or the massive amount of housing and development mentioned on curbed.sf. These may not be the stories most easily accessed by purely news feeds, but they do arguably give a person a keener sense of what affects or will affect our streets, cities, and lives, than permutations of car crashes and driver misbehavior. A once a week round-up similar to New York’s carnage report might provide all the crimes and misdemeanors some of us need. That said, I do appreciate this site, and thank you for all your work.

  50.  

    murphstahoe