Northern California justice for cyclists

A couple of court cases involving drivers vs cyclists have made the news this week.

You might recall last April’s horrifying crash in which a father and daughter were killed while riding their bicycles on the sidewalk in Concord, California.

The 17 year driver of a Cadillac Escalade pled guilty to killing the cyclists. He was driving 72 MPH in a 45 zone at 9:30 AM on April 7, 2012 when he lost control of his vehicle. The large SUV rolled several times down Treat Boulevard and impacted into Solaiman Nuri and his 9 year old daughter Hadessa.

The judge agreed the little snot is a danger to society and should be held in the Martinez juvenile hall pending sentencing. Because he’s a juvenile, he will be released from prison on his 21st birthday. The contra Costa County attorney told the Chronicle he believes the outcome was just, saying he thinks the boy will serve more time in juvenile custody than if he had been convicted in adult court.

On March 30, 2012, an unnamed 23 year old man was riding in the bike lane on Market Street, Santa Cruz north of Highway 1 when Patrick Giles Hart steered his white Subaru Legacy hatchback into the cyclist, severely injuring him. The cyclist was airlifted to a trauma center in Santa Clara County.

This is usually written off as a standard Single Witness Suicide Swerve. The hospitalized cyclist is unable to give a statement, so the responding officer believes the statement of the uninjured driver, who always claims “He swerved right in front of me!”

In this case, though, Giles was obviously under the influence. He was driving on a suspended license, he was violating the conditions of his parole, he was drunk, and police found evidence that he was under the influence of methamphetamine.

Hart was sentenced to two years in prison for felony drunk driving.


  1. I guess California courts are getting serious. Two years for the drunk in CA that badly injured one cyclist versus two years for the drunk in TX that killed Alfaro and Hatch. Still, progress is progress!

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