Hit-and-run accidents have been on the rise in major cities in recent years, spiking more than 13 percent in a recent three-year time frame. In some places, like Los Angeles, it’s so bad that half of all crashes in the city involve at least one driver who fled the scene. In total, these accidents kill about 1,500 people a year – disproportionately affecting pedestrians and bicyclists. In fact, 60 percent of hit-and-run fatalities are pedestrians.
Just recently in New York City, friends and family gathered in Brooklyn to remember the 35-year-old founder of a company called Bikestock, a bike repair vending machine business and avid bicycling advocate, who was riding home form his night job when a black Chevrolet Camero with tinted windows struck him around 2:30 a.m. He was dragged for a distance. The driver didn’t stop. He was later pronounced dead. It was the 12th cycling fatality in New York City this year, compared to five this time last year. Said a police investigator, “Most of the time, it’s errant and lawless motoring that is to blame.”
Several states, including Texas, Florida, Arizona and Colorado have increased criminal penalties for hit-and-run drivers. In Massachusetts, M.G.L. c. 90 s. 24 makes failure to stop after a collision a misdemeanor, with a maximum penalty of up to 2 years in jail, a $200 fine and between 60 days and 1 year of license loss. Of course, that assumes the driver got caught. So here does all this leave Boston bicycle accident victims? Continue reading