Woman Dies One Month After Being Hit By Cyclist In San Francisco

Aug 12, 2011

A woman who had been hospitalized since being struck by a cyclist in San Francisco last month died Thursday, opening the question of what charges, if any, might be filed against the cyclist. Dionette Cherney, a Washington, D.C., resident in her late 60s, suffered a head injury in the crash, from which she did not recover.

In July, police said that Cherney had nearly finished crossing the six-lane street at the intersection of Mission St. and The Embarcadero, with the light in her favor, when a cyclist struck her in the bike lane next to the sidewalk. The accident occurred during the busy morning rush hour, at 8:15 a.m.

The cyclist, who stayed at the scene and spoke with police, suffered only minor injuries. At the time, he was not charged with an infraction.

After the July 15 accident, San Francisco Police Officer Albie Esparza told KCBS, "Every bicyclist in the city should be reminded each and every day that all the laws on the books apply to them too. They need to stop at every stop sign and every stop light."

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon tells the AP that his office has not yet decided whether to file any charges against the bicyclist, 25.

After the accident, news outlets in the city mentioned various degrees of manslaughter as potential charges in the case.

Cherney, known to many as Didi, worked in finance and real estate, in addition to being a longtime volunteer for Score, an organization that gives advice to small businesses and entrepreneurs. She had apparently been visiting San Francisco with her husband.

In San Francisco, cyclists don't pose as great a risk to pedestrians, reports the transportation site SF Streetsblog: "811 people were injured by drivers last year, 18 people were injured by bicyclists, according to SFPD data."

But the site, which promotes the use of more mass transit and bicycles for commuting, also notes that Cherney's death is a reminder that even with cycling's rising popularity, "we need more respect on the streets, especially as the numbers continue to grow."

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