SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – A bicyclist accused of fatally striking a pedestrian in San Francisco in July pleaded not guilty Wednesday to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter charges.

Randolph Ang, 23, was riding his bike at about 8:30 a.m. on July 15 when he allegedly ran a red light at the intersection of Mission Street and The Embarcadero and struck 68-year-old Dionette Cherney, police and prosecutors said.

The collision caused Cherney to fall and hit the back of her head.

She was taken to San Francisco General Hospital, where she died on Aug. 11.

Ang was cited at the scene and released, but was charged in the case on Nov. 10 after prosecutors received the final medical examiner’s report on the accident.

He returned to court Wednesday to be arraigned on the manslaughter charge and pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutor Sarah Hawkins had asked for Ang to be held on $15,000 bail, but the judge declined to take him into custody, saying he was not a flight risk or a danger to the community.

Ang’s attorney, Tony Brass, said outside of court that “there’s no question this is a tragic accident, and no one feels that more than my client.”

Brass said Ang had recently graduated from Bucknell University in Pennsylvania and had gotten his first job as an assistant media planner at a marketing company along The Embarcadero, and was just trying to get to work on time.

“He feels terrible about what happened to this woman,” Brass said.

District Attorney George Gascon said outside of court Wednesday morning that the case “really illustrates a problem we’re having in our city” with “careless behavior” by motorists, bicyclists and pedestrians.

Gascon said that although Ang was a “young man with no criminal record … we have to hold people accountable and send the message that a red light means stop.”

Brass also acknowledged that the case highlights a hot-button issue in San Francisco because “most people are annoyed at how bicyclists ride around the city.”

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

But he said the case is unique because the chance of a bicyclist killing a pedestrian “is very slim.”

Ang faces up to a year in county jail if he is convicted. The case will return to court on Dec. 13 for a pretrial conference.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

Comments (8)
  1. David Legnosky says:

    No excuses! Bike riders MUST obey the same laws as vehicle drivers. I see bikes running red lights and stop signs every day! They also ride on the wrong side of the streets all the time! It’s about time we license these idiots, not that it will help! They are always complaining about vehicle drivers, but, they never seem to realize a lot of the issues they encounter are partly their fault!

    1. sigmund says:

      You are VERY correct. Bikes in the city are so arrogant, they do not think the vehicle laws apply to them. All this idiot had to do was stop at the red light, and that lady would still be alive, and his life would not have turned into a nightmare, but maybe he doesn’t care, why does he think he wasn’t a factor in her death. Anyone injuring or killing someone while driving or riding any kind of vehicle, should get more than just a year. It’s a RESPONSIBILITY to ride safely, that’s what the Vehicle laws are FOR.

  2. tn says:

    Walking and driving in SF, my experience has been quite the same- many, if not most bicyclists were not obeying road rules bordering aggressively biking, especially around the downtown and financial districts (where there are higher concentrations of pedestrians, cars and bicycles. Bicyclist share the road and should be held accountable just like people driving cars, riding motorcycles and pedestrians. The attorney spins it saying “no one feels the tragedy more than his client,” and doesn’t realize that the dead person probably had family and friends whom feel worse. Sad.

  3. Guapi says:

    I’ve never seen bicycle riders anywhere else in the world like the rude, ignorant, and aggressive ones in San Francisco. Many of them are downright nasty!

  4. william says:

    It is time to get tough on CA/SF cyclists.
    The fact is, 90+% of the time cyclists do not stop at stop signs/red lights.

    Make an example of this guy and increase the fines of traffic law breakers.
    Our economy can use the help.

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