On November 17, 2000, our beloved son, brother and friend, Chris Robertson, was tragically killed in the city he loved, San Francisco. He was 30 years old. All of the quotes below were written by his friends and family who loved him as much as we did. Chris died doing what he loved - riding his bicycle. We can only hope that his death will save the lives of other bicyclists and pedestrians in our rushed society.
We encourage you to live as Chris lived -
savor every moment, always seek happiness, love and be loved.
"Chris was an avid bicyclist, social activist, vegetarian, and a warm and loving man who believed in the equality of all human
"He’ll be remembered as a young man who was humorous, intelligent, sensitive, and very full of
"He leaves behind a mother who thought the world of him, a father that was very proud of him, a sister who adored him, and countless friends and family who were touched by his
"There were many sides to
"He was a truly unique, free spirit: wild, creative, talented, fascinating, brimming with charisma, and fun to be
"Peaceful, pleasant, and friendly with a little excitement thrown in...that is how I will remember
"Chris was a unique individual - intelligent, outgoing, friendly and, above all, possessing a zest for life and all it had to
"Every time I got together with Chris was a fun and interesting
"I miss him
"There will never be anyone like him."
was struck and killed by a 18-wheeler truck on Friday, Nov 17, 2000,
in what appears to be an incident of road rage. After a
lengthy investigation by the San Francisco District Attorney's
Office, Rueben Espinosa, the driver of the truck, was arrested for
manslaughter and assault charges on February 5, 2001. Bail was
set at $2 million, and was later reduced to $1.5 million. On April
17, 2001, all felony charges were dropped against Espinosa, and he was released from prison on a
November 5, 2001, Rueben Espinosa was tried on the reduced
misdemeanor charges of assault with a deadly weapon and
manslaughter. On November 8th, he was found guilty of
assault with a deadly weapon. On November 9th, he was found not
guilty of manslaughter. On November 13th, Espinosa was
sentenced to eight months, minus time served, in prison and a $500 fine.
Notes from those who attended the trial
can be found in articles listed below from SF
the felony charges were dropped in April 2001, a postcard campaign was launched in
San Francisco by a friend of Chris who printed and stamped hundreds
of postcards. They were passed out to friends, family, and
bike shops across the city. They read as follows:
Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan
c/o Asst. DA Andrew J. Clark
850 Bryant St. Rm #327
San Francisco, CA 94103
District Attorney Hallinan:
am deeply concerned about safety on our San Francisco streets. I
want you to do your best to ensure
that the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and drivers
is taken seriously. In the recent case involving
the death of cyclist Chris Robertson, it appears
that there will be no serious penalties against
a professional driver, who by his own admission,
used his 18 wheel big rig truck to play "chicken"
with a group of cyclists.
urge you to work towards the revocation of professional
driving privileges of Reuben Espinoza. He should
be retrained to work in a position where he will
not endanger others. We need to put a stop to road
rage in San Francisco, and this is the first step down
that road. Driving is privilege, not a right. The safety
of the citizens of San Francisco is at risk.
Bicycles have a right to the road.
California Vehicle Code 21202
more information, click
to read about the efforts of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition in
the original pursuit of justice for Chris.
Here are the links to newspaper and other articles concerning Chris'
death and the case against the truck driver who is responsible for
his death. Many of these articles include inconsistencies or
false information about Chris. A few that I have noticed:
- Some of the following articles state
Chris' age as 32 years. Chris was actually 30 years old at
the time of his death, and would have turned 31 on June 7, 2001.
- Some of the following articles
state that Chris was a bike messenger at the time of his death,
or that he had worked as a bike messenger in the past. Although Chris was an avid cyclist during the last several years
of his life, he never worked as a bike messenger. Chris worked as
a motorcycle messenger and dispatcher for a San Francisco company
called Lightning Express many years ago, but at the time he was
killed he worked for a co-op store called Rainbow Grocery.
If you notice any other inconsistencies, or
have any other articles to add to this list, please e-mail
In addition, some of these articles
do not portray Chris or cyclists in a completely positive
light. I simply posted all the articles I could find that
mentioned his name. If you would like to discuss an issue
related to any of these articles, please post it to my Guestbook.
Chronicle / SF Gate News:
18, 2000: Cyclist Run Over and Killed By Big-Rig Truck in S.F.
21, 2000: Robertson, Christopher P. (Obituary)
21, 2000: Bicyclist Killed By Truck in S.F. Is Identified -
Driver charges dropped pending investigation
22, 2000: Witnesses Sought in Death of Bicyclist
29, 2000: Police Seek Witnesses to Bike-Big Rig Crash
29, 2000: Fatal Bike Accident (KRON-TV Channel 4)
2, 2000: Bicyclists Turning Wheels of Justice - Group meets
D.A. following death of biker
6, 2001: Trucker Arrested in Death of Bicyclist
6, 2001: Plea in Cyclist Death Not Guilty, says trucker
charged in rider slaying (Click
for accompanying photograph)
2, 2001: Bikers Hope Friend's Death Will Make Streets Safer
for Letters to the Editor - Scroll Down)
18, 2001: Manslaughter Charge Dropped in Biker's Death -
Trucker faces 2 misdemeanors (Click
for Letters to the Editor - Scroll Down)
27, 2001: Bicyclist's Anguish - Another rider killed on day of
Critical Mass, protest over earlier death
28, 2001: Critical Mass Participants Ride in Memoriam - 1,500
hit the streets on a day 2 more cyclists die
4, 2001: Channel That Anger Into Action - but with love
December 11, 2000: When Good Drivers Go Bad - For bicyclists
and pedestrians, hitting the road can be a deadly experience
December 15, 2000: City's Cyclists Are Treated Like Second
15, 2001: Cyclists Rally to Be Counted
14, 2001: Hearing Begins in Bicyclist's Death
19, 2001: Bicycle Death-Case Charges Reduced
April 19, 2001: Editorial Cartoon
23, 2001: Biker's Death Spurs Protest
27, 2001: Stuck? Critical Mass Strikes Again
30, 2001: Mobile Wake for Biker Killed by Truck
30, 2001: Cyclists Changing Face of S.F.
Jose Mercury News:
Francisco Bay Guardian:
Francisco Bicycle Coalition's Tube Times:
Bay Independent Media Center:
- San Francisco
Bicycle Coalition - Chris was a member and volunteer of this
organization which advocates for cyclist's rights. Learn about
their work to make the streets of San Francisco safer for cyclists.
Grocery - Read all about the co-op where Chris worked at the time
of his death. Even though he had only worked there for five
months, staff describes him as a "good friend and great
Chris - Join the message board so you can read and share stories
Francisco Bike Messenger Association - Even though Chris was not
working as a bike messenger, he was supportive of this organization,
which also advocates for cyclist's rights.
AIDS Ride - In the year 2000, Chris celebrated his 30th birthday
by riding his bicycle from San Francisco to Los Angeles. The
ride has gone through some changes since that time, and is now called
AIDS Life Cycle.
Memorial - View dozens of memorial sites for cyclists who have
died all over the world, including Chris' memorial under "San
Francisco," of course.
Homepage - Even though he hadn't updated it since 1997, you can
still view Chris' web-page where he talks about lots of his favorite
- Check out Chris' favorite bar and hangout - which is also a
guesthouse! You can drink all the beer you want and then sleep
upstairs for only $30 a night!
for Hire - Check out the site of Chris' friend, Dale. Lots
of cool links, and if you're ever in need of a musician...
Chef - View the schedule and lots of other cool information about
Chris' favorite show on television - he used to watch it without the
Doon Vineyard - Read about Chris' favorite vineyard. You can
even buy wine (depending on what state you live in), including Chris'
favorite wine, Le Cigare Volant.
Bikeway Mural - It's a favorite hangout for cyclists. Read the story of the
mural, and see a full-length photograph.
Cities - Carfree?? Sounds crazy to a lot of us, but
Chris would have LOVED it!! This is a pretty cool site, even if
this guy is dreaming.
Magazine Collector Site - Chris did love his MAD Magazines, and he
collected them, too. If anyone is interested in buying issues
from his collection, e-mail me.
Immortal Class - A good friend of Chris' gave me this book as a
gift. The author, Travis Hugh Culley, gave me a great insight
into the lives of cyclists, especially the messenger community.
Order your own copy...
Don't let Chris'
death be in vain!!
Whether you are a driver or a cyclist,
educate yourself about
cyclists' rights and the rules of the road by checking the
laws in your state.
Valley Bicycle Coalition has lots of good information - check out
the We Share the
about the trial of the Chicago motorist who killed cyclist and
messenger, Tommy McBride, during a fit of road rage. The
motorist, Carnell Fitzpatrick, was
convicted of First Degree Murder
for the killing that he called "accidental."
Visit the League
of American Bicyclists to learn more about
advocacy and get great
links no matter where you live! You can also learn about how
to travel with your bike.
Learn about San Francisco's
Campaign, sponsored in part by the San
Francisco Bicycle Coalition. The campaign is designed to
"replace road rage with road etiquette," and you can
download lots of cool stuff for cyclists and drivers. You can
even learn how to e-mail the mayor of San Francisco in support of a
citywide bike network (or just to tell him hello).
Other pages concerning cyclists'