Driver Arrested In Pedicab Fall That Killed Woman

Sukru Safa Cinar, 23, Faces Manslaughter Charge

A 23-year-old pedicab driver is in custody Wednesday in connection with a Fourth of July accident that killed one of his fares in the downtown Marina area.

San Diego police arrested Sukru Safa Cinar, a resident of Turkey in the United States on an employment visa, as he was preparing to start his work day in the 1400 block of Island Avenue about 11:15 a.m. Tuesday, San Diego police Assistant Chief Guy Swanger said.

According to police, Cinar was arrested on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter but the San Diego County District Attorney's Office said he will be charged with involuntary manslaughter.

If convicted, he faces a maximum sentenced of four years in prison, Paul Levikow, a spokesman for the District Attorney's Office, said.

The fatal accident occurred shortly before noon Saturday on Martin Luther King Promenade. Retired schoolteacher Sharon Miller, who was riding in Cinar's three-wheeled pedal taxi with a friend, fell out as he allegedly swerved side to side on the pedestrian path, where he was riding in violation of posted signs, Swanger said.

The 60-year-old Illinois resident, who was in San Diego with her husband to attend a national education conference, fell onto a sidewalk and suffered a severe head injury. She was pronounced dead Sunday at UCSD Medical Center in Hillcrest.

Cinar, whose pedicab was not equipped with seat belts, is expected to be arraigned in downtown San Diego on Thursday afternoon.

Council Calls For Stronger Pedicab Regulations The fatal injury of a 60-year-old woman who fell from a pedicab in downtown San Diego underscores the need for more stringent operator and vehicle regulations, members of the City Council said Tuesday.

"The bottom line is we have to find a way to truly regulate this industry, so it's not only a productive part of the tourism industry and the economy in San Diego, but it's also safe," Councilman Tony Young said.

Last month, the Public Safety and Neighborhood Services Committee forwarded a proposal to the full City Council that would amend the city's existing ordinance regulating pedicabs and operators.

The change would prohibit pedicabs from city sidewalks and on streets with speed limits over 25-miles-per-hour, according to Councilwoman Marti Emerald.

It would establish pedicab restricted zones and mandate the posting of fares and fees large enough for consumers to read.

The amended ordinance would also reduce the number of permits granted for pedicabs in the city to 250, down from 400.

Emerald called for an expedited City Council hearing on the proposed amendments to the ordinance before the end of the month.

"We started the ball rolling," Emerald said. "This was our greatest fear that somebody might be injured or killed in a pedicab incident here and we just want to make sure that we do everything in our power to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Emerald and Young were joined at a news conference outside City Hall by Councilmen Todd Gloria and Kevin Faulconer to express their condolences to Miller's family and tout the amended pedicab regulations.

Faulconer, who represents downtown, where many of the pedicabs operate, said the service is part of what makes the area special, but there needs to be "proper regulations" and that pedicab operators have to "play by the rules."

"We must ensure safe operations for our visitors and our neighbors," Faulconer said. "I look forward to strengthening the regulations that is coming before the council in just a couple of weeks."

A spokeswoman for City Council President Ben Hueso said a date has not yet been set for a hearing on the ordinance changes.

In a statement, Hueso said his "sympathies are with the Miller family."

"Their loss tragically demonstrates the need for council to act quickly on ordinance amendments that were already underway," the statement reads. "In the interest of public safety for all, licensing requirements and operator regulations must be updated, then rigorously enforced, for these three-wheeled bicycles."