You might want to think twice the next time you hop on your bike in Los Angeles. The L.A. Times reports that hit-and-run accidents involving bicyclists increased a whopping 42% between 2002 and 2012. And, the sobering statistics don't end there. Not only are more bicyclists getting injured, but the perpetrators are not getting caught. According to data from the Board of Police Commissioners, about 80% of hit-and-runs between 2008 and 2012 were never resolved.
These scary stats hit too close to home for Paul Livingston, a bicyclist who was in a coma with eight fractured vertebrae as a result of such a collision. The newspaper reports that the driver of the vehicle actually called the police the next day to confess that she had hit a cyclist. Fast-forward through both a criminal and civil court case, and the driver wound up spending only two days in jail — though she was also ordered to pay over $600,000 in restitution. "I was in a coma for longer than she was locked up," Livingston told the LAT. But, Livingston's case is a rare one, and not just for the severity of his injuries; most drivers don't turn themselves in, and most victims receive neither peace of mind nor compensation.
In an effort to curb this trend, "state legislators have made a recent push to stiffen penalties to discourage drivers from leaving crash scenes," The L.A. Times reports. We can only hope these efforts pay off, so our friends and neighbors can ride safe. (The L.A. Times)