San Francisco cyclist who killed tourist to become bike safety advocate 

Dionette “Didi” Cherney’s husband and daughter honored the bike collision victim in court Monday. - COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
  • Dionette “Didi” Cherney’s husband and daughter honored the bike collision victim in court Monday.

The heartbroken family of a tourist who was struck and killed by a red light-running bike rider last summer requested mercy for the cyclist, prosecutors said Monday, believing he should become a bicycle safety advocate instead of an inmate.

A remorseful Randolph Ang, 23, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter Monday in connection with the July 15 collision at Mission Street and The Embarcadero that killed Dionette “Didi” Cherney, 68, of Washington, D.C.

Ang faced up to a year in County Jail. But as part of a plea agreement that was approved by Dionette Cherney’s family, Ang was sentenced to three years of probation and 500 hours of community service. He also was ordered to pay the family more than $15,000 in restitution.

As part of his community service, Ang will help a yet-to-be-named organization promote bicycle safety, attorneys in the case said.

Dionette Cherney’s husband, Colburn, said jail time would have done no good, and he wants the tragedy to be an opportunity to educate the public, Assistant District Attorney Sarah Hawkins said.

In a somber court statement Monday, Ang profusely apologized for his “careless” actions. He has said he ran a red light on The Embarcadero that morning while rushing to get to work. Ang plowed into Dionette Cherney, who had been walking with her husband, and she suffered head injuries that proved to be fatal.

Ang said he will forever be indebted to Colburn Cherney and his family. He vowed to do “whatever is necessary” to promote bicycle safety.

“I cannot ask for their forgiveness,” Ang said in court. “I hope they can see and hear how sorry I am.”

The family said in court statements Monday they wanted Ang to know he killed a beloved mother and grandmother.

“We had 20 wonderful years of marriage, but we expected and deserved 20 more years,” Colburn Cherney said in a statement made through Hawkins, his attorney.

Beth Harvey, Dionette Cherney’s daughter from a previous marriage, showed Ang pictures of her mother.

The family statements included a half-hour recital of dozens of emails from family and friends mourning the accident and subsequent death Aug. 11.

As the emails were read, the husband and daughter sobbed, and sometimes laughed, as loved ones described a compassionate and fun-loving career woman.

After the emails and statements were read, Judge Ann Bullion said with a warm smile, “I feel like I’ve met her.”

“Please think about the pain you have caused, and spread the word to other bikers,” Harvey said.

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