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I can't understand why anybody would be doing 75 in a 30 at that hour...unless the crash were intentional.

When he's out, he needs his license taken away.

I am a bit confused, because usually the ACM doesn't record speed information like that.

EDR (which are being phased in) do record this information, but I am guessing it is just sloppy reporting (or sloppy lawyering). Why is this important? Well, the evidence isn't perfect and it also might not reflect true vehicle speeds (as opposed to speed at the wheels).

However, bascially this case got it right. Excessive speeding + death = jail.

Charlie: modern ACMs are being widely used as "black boxes" to record such information, and might be mandatory on all new cars in a few years.

I am glad that there was prison, but 14 mo is very lenient under the facts. I hope he has his license permenantly revoked.

Yes, this seems very lenient.

After his license is revoked, he should be required to use a bike as his only transportation. Of course for many of us that wouldn't be punishment.

Some of you may remember this 2002 incident where a driver killed a cyclist in Sligo Creek Park. The situation isn't that much different except apparently the driver stayed at the scene. He got 3 years in prison:
According to http://www.fosc.org/Memorials5.htm :

Walter Penney, 48, was riding a bicycle in a designated northbound bicycle lane at the side of the parkway as a Wheaton driver sped the other way at nearly 60 mph. The car crossed the median, hit and killed Walter Penney. The driver, 25, received three years of actual jail time, a fine of $1500, and was assigned 240 hours of community service. Reportedly neither drugs nor alcohol were involved; the driver was "in a hurry."

Guy hits cyclist, doing over twice the speed limit, not slowing down, and not stopping afterwards. and he gets 14 months? People have received higher sentences for selling crack.

I guess we now know how much the life of a cyclist is worth in this area. Not much.

"I guess we now know how much the life of a cyclist is worth in this area. Not much."

The price is higher than I've generally seen in the past. Previously it was a sub-$300 ticket.

As Wash points out, that the crash was seriously investigated without the driver having been drunk or having had a record of drunk driving is progress. The justice system used to assume that no one would convict a driver of killing someone unless that driver carried a "dunk driver" label (extraordinary circumstances excepted, like the guy in CA who had been reported to the police for attempting to injure cyclists with his car before he succeeded).

It appears there are now three things that can get you sent to prison in a bicycle fatality - driving drunk, hit and run, and driving 150% over the speed limit.

All this depends on where the accident occurred. It was Mr. Austin's misfortunte that Southern Avenue is in the District of Columbia rather than Maryland, because until Oct. 1, 2011 Maryland did not have a law for negligent vehicular homicide. Going forward, we have three different laws in this area:

1. In all three states, if you kill someone whule drunk, drag racing, or doing something really stupid after being warned by a passenger that you are liable to kill someone for doing it, you can be convicted for manslaughter and reckless driving. 10 years.

2. In Maryland, if your are deliberately doing something with a substantial likelihood of killing someone--whether you realize it or not--you may be guilty of negligent vehicular homicide. Double the speed limit of 30 mph over the limit appears to be an example, as would cruising down a bike lane to pass traffic.
Three years.

3. In DC, even plain old negligence might get you convicted of negligent homicide, if your behavior itself is clearly negligent. Overlooking a stop sign, probably not--but failing to maintain a commercial vehicle in proper working order, maybe so.

what about a cyclist who rides at night, in a very dark area, there's no bike lane, wearing dark clothing and no reflectors/light on bike? Isn't the cyclist "negligent" too?

Yes. Though the only relevant part is riding at night with no lights or reflectors. Was that the case?

Nonetheless, it is completely overwhelmed by the reckless speeding. Most drivers wouldn't hit a cyclist in that situation because they are not outdriving their headlights and are paying attention. That's why you have headlights.

@Yvonne. It's hard to imagine how this behavior by a cyclist would get someone else killed, but if it did, then the cyclist could be guilty of negligent homicide in DC.

This is probably insufficient to convict a cyclist in Maryland--but if you add to that riding on the wrong side of the street, then perhaps a cyclist would be guilty even in Maryland if she collided with another cyclist and killed her.

No applicable statute in Virginia.

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