Randolph Ang, Cyclist Who Killed Pedestrian, Gets Probation and Community Service

Categories: Crime, bikes
cyclistpeddeath.jpg
Dionette Cherney died after bicyclist Randolph Ang ran a red light and struck her in a crosswalk.
Randolph Ang, the bicyclist who ran a red light and fatally struck a woman last summer, will not set foot behind prison bars. He pleaded guilty today to vehicular manslaughter, a misdemeanor, and faces three years of probation and 500 hours of community service.

The sentencing marks the end of a case that is particularly resonant in a city where-- because of $4.75 gasoline, $15 parking, 8 m.p.h. Muni rides, and deeply rooted environmentalism-- bikes are increasingly popular.

And a lot of bike riders run red lights or roll through stops. These infractions are rarely enforced. This time somebody died because of it.

Ang was hustling to work on the morning of July 15, 2011, when he cruised through a red light at the intersection of Mission Street and the Embarcadero and collided with Dionette Cherney, a 68-year-old from Washington, D.C., visiting San Francisco with her husband. Cherney tumbled to the ground, the back of her head smacking the pavement. She died a few weeks later.

Considering that Ang's illegal action caused Cherney's death, three years probation and 500 hours community service might seem to many people -- including this paper's editor -- a lenient punishment. The victim's husband, Coke Cherney, is not one of those people. At the hearing, Cherney stated that he did not think Ang should receive jail time. Instead, he addressed the tragedy within the context of an endemic concern within the city.

"Our loss is done," he said, according to a district attorney press release. "This city has a real problem. Unless people start obeying the law or it gets enforced, more people are going to have to go through this."

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15 comments
Ian Brett Cooper
Ian Brett Cooper

PEOPLE, not just cyclists, disobey traffic law. It is a mistake to focus on cyclists when the statistics show that drivers kill around 30,000 times more people than cyclists do. It may well be that cyclists run red lights more than drivers do, but how many cyclists speed in comparison with how many drivers do the same? And speeding is vastly more deadly than running red lights.

You know what the conviction rate is for cyclists who kill? Close to 100%. Guess what it is for motorists - under 10%. Yeah, cyclists are the problem.

Running red lights is a fear-based behavior - many cyclists believe (wrongly) that overtaking drivers pose a greater threat than intersection conflicts - so they run the red to get ahead of traffic. Is it any wonder that cyclists' behavior is based on fear when there are so many motorists out there who honk at cyclists or yell at them to 'get off the road', or pass dangerously close, or throw things at them out of their windows.

There is a culture of bullying on the road that has to stop. Motorists think they own the road and they think they are the only ones with the right to use it, yet the road is a public space that belongs to every vehicle operator, and bicycles are vehicles according to the law. That has been the case since the 1890s, when cyclists lobbied government to build the US road system.

hmcarron
hmcarron

Mr. Cooper

 

I have read you posts and the repsonses to your posts.  I am interested to know where you got your statistics.  Many municipal police departments do not keep records of bicycle/pedestrian accidents.

 

1 or 2 pedestrian fatalities a year seems very low to me.  I know of two fatalities in Philadelphia in 2009.  I am sure there have been more since.  The cyclists in these cases suffered no recourse and in one case probably no remorse as he fled the scene,

 

This is indeed a heated subject.  If everyone does what they are supposed to, no one will get hurt.  Everyone needs to stop blaming each and accept responsibilty for his or her own actions.

 

 

Ronibu
Ronibu

Your an Idiot!!

dude
dude

I think you mean you're.

LN_Smithee
LN_Smithee

Don't pee on my car and tell me it's raining, Mr. Cooper.  

If you have eyesight decent enough to read what you just typed, you see well enough to know that what you wrote is nonsense, at least when it comes to downtown San Francisco.  You know good and well how the city came to be so cyclist-friendly: Mob rule.  

Critical Mass was resisted by the police at first, then it got a police escort.  When Willie Brown vowed to stop it, it caused a riot, and he eventually bent over after anointing the SF Bicycle Coalition a political player.  Gavin Newsom embraced it with open arms and encouraged it and truncated right lanes with the so-called "sharrows," and now bicyclists are such a force that the DA delayed this prosecution until after the last election, lest he P.O. you two-wheel tyrannists! You gained this power BY running red lights and stop signs while taunting the hated "motorists." So why should we believe you want to start obeying the law now? 

There's NO fear involved in zipping from the bike lane on Market or Mission or Valencia into a crosswalk filled with pedestrians so they don't have to break their stride!  There's NO fear in sneaking in-between vehicles stopped at an intersection and making lateral turns in front of bumpers without looking!  There's NO fear of usurping right-of-way of a previously stopped car -- "motorists" obeying the laws advance thinking the coast is clear and --ZIP-- there goes an impatient pedaler.  Or two. Or three.  Honk your horn in protest, you get a middle finger or a facetious wave.  "Share the Road" my...

People like you SAY "bicycles are vehicles according to the law," but you don't really mean it. If you did, instead of the same old rehashing the statistics of fatalities from automobiles vs. bicycles, you would be suggesting strategies that might prevent losses like Mrs. Cherney in the future.  Like, for example, increased fines for running stop signs and red lights with confiscation of the bicycle on the spot for repeat offenders!

Colbert Cherney -- a powerful D.C. attorney -- was more kind than he had to be in asking that Randolph Ang not be jailed for taking his wife away from him. I am guessing that perhaps Mr. Cherney had empathy for Ang since Dionette was in such incredible shape for 68, she probably did a fair amount of cycling herself.  But I wonder what would happen if an enterprising photojournalist followed Ang on his daily rides as a free man to make sure he's learned that red means STOP!  

I'd hate to see a Washington lawyer when he's really angry.

Ian Brett Cooper
Ian Brett Cooper

 "Mob rule" caused San Francisco to be so cyclist friendly? LOL! Anyone would think that chaos ruled San Francisco's streets. And you say I'm spouting nonsense? You want to see someone spouting nonsense? Look in a mirror.

L.N. Smithee
L.N. Smithee

On Saturday morning, July 26, 1997, this was the headline of the Chronicle: "S.F. Bike Chaos -- 250 Arrests: 5,000 bikers snarl commute --Drivers, riders exchange blows City-approved route ignored" Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/... didn't say there was "chaos." The Chron did.  That was the morning after Mayor Brown tried to clamp down on Critical Mass.  The crowd splintered into different directions, with one small group attempting to access the Bay Bridge on-ramp.  That's what might have happened every month if Brown didn't surrender and suck up to people few in number, but more than willing to regularly display brazen disrespect for the law and their fellow San Franciscans.I can't find news footage of the 1997 scene at this moment, but here's a confrontation between Massholes and "motorists" from 2009. Imagine this happening in dozens of intersections at one time, and you'll understand what happened.  That is, of course, you're being facetious, and you were there yourself, whooping, hollering, and flipping people off by the dozens.http://youtu.be/IyJWXWr7YCg

Opus the Poet
Opus the Poet

 The prosecution rates are 100% cyclists, 7% drivers, the conviction rates are much worse for drivers but still 100% for cyclists.

e_dog
e_dog

Your stats may be dubious, but the notion that "running red lights is a fear-based behavior" is definitely bullshit. I've been a bike commuter here and elsewhere. The primary reason cyclists don't stop at stop signs and red lights is simply because they don't want to stop. When they've got a good pace going, it's a bummer to hit the brakes, wait, and then expend a lot more energy to get back up to the pace they were at. And when the adrenaline is kicking, (and it can be kicking pretty high on a fast, busy roadway), they're even more likely to try and beat the cross traffic.

Ian Brett Cooper
Ian Brett Cooper

I didn't say all cyclists run red lights out of fear. I said 'many' do. Clearly, many cyclists are just as big jerks as many drivers (although I have yet to hear of cyclists spitting on drivers or throwing bottles at them). But a lot of cyclists do run red lights out of fear of close passes. If you don't see that, then you can't have done much road cycling.

The correct procedure to safely prevent too close passing is to ride farther out into the lane. That way, motorists can easily see that there's no room to pass within the lane. But again, fear of road rage causes many cyclists to be afraid of doing that. The fact is, so many motorists honk or abuse cyclists, that a culture of fear has developed among novice cyclists. I'm just glad I learned to cycle in the 1970s, when road cycling was at least tolerated by other road users.

All I know for sure is that I don't run red lights - ever. I don't do it because it's stupid. It's stupid when drivers do it - it's doubly stupid when cyclists do it, because whereas drivers only really endanger pedestrians, cyclists endanger both pedestrians and themselves when they do it.

As for the 'dubious' stats - look them up. It's not like the government hides them. 30,000 to one is approximately accurate for the last ten years. It varies from 30,000 to 40,000 motorist caused deaths per year. Cyclist-caused deaths vary from zero to about two per year. But if cyclists caused 10 deaths per year or a hundred, or even a thousand, my point would still stand. The same applies to conviction rates - look them up.

Sfgrl78
Sfgrl78

have you ever noticed how many drivers are sentenced to time in jail when they kill a pedestrian? do your research.

LN_Smithee
LN_Smithee

Yeah, Sfgrl78, you reacted just as I expected.  The oh-so-reliable moral high ground of urban bicyclists. 

You're all saving the world because you're not using fossil fuel, so it doesn't make any difference if you're running red lights, running stop signs, illegally riding on sidewalks, going the wrong way up one-way streets.  If you frustrate drivers -- oops, I mean "motorists" -- all the better, because they're the problem, and you're the solution.  So WHAT if one of you in the process kills a wonderful woman visiting the city while she's obeying the law and you're not?  She's just ONE.  How many of you guys have been killed in the streets, right? TONS more!  So until the body count of bicyclists matches those of people steering those global-warming killing machines, you'll just treat people like Dionette Cherney as a statistic.

Kyt
Kyt

once again a hypocritical cyclist who thinks he's above the law. Who cares if a rushed cyclist kills off a pedestrian, She probably deserved it because she drove a Buick. Cyclist deserve free reign of everything, who cares if they go the wrong direction on the road, ride up sidewalks with pedestrians already on them or kill an old lady because that was one time, let's not get excited until it happens a few more times, until then we should just mind our own business. Thanks for show me perspective, from now on, I'll be sure to knock over cyclist that ride pass me on the sidewalk because when you look at that numbers of death caused by pedestrians to cyclist it doesn't really matter and they're on my sideWALK.

JugsPutin
JugsPutin

Oh, cram it back where it belongs. Who's the righteous one here? We need a sensible reform to bicycle traffic laws that will make everyone happy, not angry mob nonsense like this and other comments.

Firstly a quick note about the "law": just because something is ILLEGAL doesn't mean it's unsafe and immoral. Yes, many cyclists are assholes, and they definitely shouldn't be blindly running red lights and usurping right of ways from cars. But motor vehicle laws are simply too poor a fit for the reality of the situation. Why do you think so many bicyclists are ignoring the laws? What, they're ALL spoiled assholes?

So here's the deal. Cyclists on the streets are a relatively new phenomenon, so of course in our great wisdom we simply slapped the same set of rules on them as we did for motorized vehicles that weigh exponentially more, travel much faster, cannot brake as easily, etc. In other words, cars are much deadlier, and the statistics seem to be proving that.

On the other hand, it makes no sense for a bicyclist traveling properly and cognizant of their surroundings to fully stop - provided they are not blatantly messing with someone's right of way, be it pedestrian, motorist, or other biker. In dry conditions, a bicyclist can stop nearly instantaneously if they are going at a reasonable speed. If the cyclist that killed this poor woman knew how to PROPERLY and UNINTRUSIVELY run red lights, this wouldn't have happened. I bet he never even looked. In those downtown Market intersections, cyclists get stupid easily because when the red light hits, it just feels like the road keeps going - there is no flow of vehicle traffic going in the perpendicular direction and it's that sea of crossing pedestrians a cyclist has to remember to contend with, which usually starts flowing after a second or two of delay. However, if the cyclist is paying attention, it's very easy to hit the brakes if pedestrians are coming their way. There, I once saw a cyclist going about 20 mph brake to a complete stop literally within a foot of the crossing throng. He did it abruptly yet skillfully, and if it wasn't for the pedestrian sea, he would have ran the light. If there are no pedestrians in sight, and it's not an intersection with perpendicular traffic, is it ALWAYS unsafe for a cyclist like that to run that light? No. BUT IT IS ALWAYS ILLEGAL!!!

Look, I don't like idiot bikers who don't look when they do questionable traffic maneuvers, cut cars off, inconvenience people on sidewalks, etc. But guess what? I don't like people who stand there and wait at a stoplight simply because it's red, even though there clearly isn't a car in sight in either direction.

What I do like is a new set of traffic laws for bicyclists that honors their unique road abilities and meets them halfway in terms of safety and convenience. For example, does a bicycle really need to come to a complete stop, and if not, what's the maximum rolling stop speed a bicyclist can be moving at? 10 mph is a good figure. On the other hand, why should it be legal for bicyclists to wear earbuds? They're drowning out important sensory input vital to bike safety!

No one is having this conversation, it seems, because the popular thing to do now is talk shit on all bicyclists simply because many of them choose to look at traffic laws as something of a fluid guideline, instead of an absolute, which is how motorists view traffic laws. If you don't like it, call for sensible laws that will make all parties happy.

Ian Brett Cooper
Ian Brett Cooper

Cyclists killed one person in the US in 2011. Guess how many people were killed in the US by motorists?

I'll tell you: over 30,000. That's about one every 18 seconds.

Here is just one:

http://www.streetsblog.org/201...

How many of the drivers who killed these folks were driving drunk, speeding, running red lights, running stop signs, talking on cell phones, etc.?

I'll let you figure that out. If it's less than one, get back to me. If it's not, STFU!

If you've never broken a traffic law, then I might be willing to hear from you about how cyclists are scofflaws. But I doubt you've never once broken a traffic law. I've yet to meet a driver who won't freely admit to speeding, running the occasional red light, running stop signs. I don't own a car - never have. My bike is my sole means of personal transport. I have never once run a red light - never once disobeyed the speed limit. Can you honestly say the same? Yeah, hypocrisy is a bitch, isn't it.

When cyclist victims outnumber those killed by cars, then you can whine about how cyclists are unfairly taking the moral high ground and demonizing motorists.

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