BikePortland

Why people flee the scene of hit and runs


“You can’t imagine the horrific draining feeling of realizing that you just hurt someone and getting this intense panic that screams at you to get away as fast as possible because you’re about to be in the worst trouble of your life.”

Yesterday we shared information about two recent hit-and-runs. Not surprisingly, an interesting discussion followed in the comments. For many, hit-and-runs get at the heart of how we get along (or don’t) on our roads. Hit-and-runs also bring up the big question: Why do people leave the scene after hitting someone?

One commenter, Natalie, offered a personal story that I felt was important enough that it needed to be highlighted here on the Front Page.

Here’s Natalie’s comment (emphasis mine):

“… I’d say that half of the problem is that people flee because they’re terrified that they’re about to go to jail for something they honestly were not trying to do. Having now ridden exclusively bikes for about 8 months, I am comfortable admitting that two years ago I was a driver in a minor collision with a bike rider at night who wasn’t wearing any lights.

You can’t imagine the horrific draining feeling of realizing that you just hurt someone and getting this intense panic that screams at you to get away as fast as possible because you’re about to be in the worst trouble of your life. After talking myself down from driving away in a panic, I walked back to the busy intersection where the collision had happened, sat by the injured bike rider, allowed all the witnesses to treat me like a monster, then drove the guy to the hospital with help from a police officer, because he was refusing ambulance service due to not having any health insurance.

My insurance got him a new bike and whatever medical tests and treatments he wanted, and we ended up being completely at peace with what had happened, because we had both screwed up and both just wanted to go on with our lives. Blanket villainizing [sic] doesn’t help.”

We should all keep Natalie’s perspective in mind the next time we hear about a hit-and-run.

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