A startling new report was released by AAA showing a dramatic increase in the number of bicycle accidents and pedestrian fatalities resulting from hit and run accidents in the United States. There were a total of 1,980 hit and run deaths in 2016, with 65 percent involving cyclists and pedestrians, and one in five pedestrian deaths being caused by hit and run drivers.
There are several reasons that the national automobile association points to when determining why so many pedestrian and bicycle accidents are happening. One is the growing popularity of walking and biking to work, for which city infrastructures have not kept pace. When cyclists and pedestrians are not protected by dedicated bike and walking lanes, they are more vulnerable to negligent and distracted drivers. According to Jake Nelson, AAA traffic safety advocacy, and research director, “Obvious potential contributing factors might be a distraction for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike. And also just the fact that as more people are out there walking and biking every day, there are not the infrastructure measures to protect them.”
Hit and Run Drivers Involved in Bicycle Accidents Share Certain Traits
Though it is difficult to pinpoint who is behind fatal hit and run bicycle accidents and pedestrian injuries, as well as vehicle accidents, there are certain traits that many of the drivers that have been identified have in common. Research shows that the drivers are generally young males who have driving records that include charges of driving under the influence. Many have had their licenses suspended.
It is illegal for a driver involved in a crash to leave the scene of an accident, but studies have shown that in most cases, those who do so are two to nine times more likely to have been intoxicated when the accident occurred. The decision to leave is often attributed to poor impulse control or fear of being charged with negligent driving.