Angry Robot

Michael Bryant Walks?

Yesterday the province decided not to prosecute Michael Bryant. According to the Star, here’s what happened the night Darcy Allan Sheppard died.

This is the part that gets me:

He succeeds at restarting the engine and the Saab accelerates into Sheppard, who lands on the hood. Bryant hits the brakes when he sees Sheppard. Sheppard falls off the hood. (2.5 seconds elapses between the car starting and stopping. It travels two car lengths before Bryant stops.) Sheppard stands up within two seconds, not seriously injured. Bryant reverses and drives forward, trying to get around the bike.

I’m not saying that Bryant purposefully murdered Sheppard, as I agree that it sounds like sheer panic. Nor am I saying that Sheppard is remotely close to being a good cycling role model. However, it bothers me that this car “lurching” forward two car lengths, striking a human being, is not a bigger deal. It certainly explains why Sheppard grabs onto the car (not that it’s a good idea). I don’t see why the charges don’t involve vehicular manslaughter, careless driving, and leaving the scene of a crime no matter how angry and drunk the victim was.

That said, IANAL and perhaps lesser charges will now be forthcoming. But it would be a shame if Bryant escapes all blame, as it sends the message that it’s okay to kill cyclists if they seem angry or drunk.