An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Wednesday, March 11, 2015

What is wrong with people these days?

It seems we've become a species of disowners. As in disowning one's responsibilities. Or even human decency.

In the past week, I've witnessed one traffic incident, and also had one cycling friend left lying in the road after colliding with a car that stopped in his lane.In both cases, the offending car sped off to avoid any repercussions from their actions.

The scene of the accident. The fleeing car turned left
at the light in the distance.
In the first case here, it happened while I was out on my normal lunchtime ride. A work truck had passed me, and was slowing to make a right hand turn into a driveway. It was well in front of me, so there was no danger of either of us impeding the other. Another smaller black pickup passed me... A full second of skidding tires followed by the second truck delivering a glancing blow to the turning truck's bumper. Plastic shards ejected. And then the second truck accelerated and sped up the hill, making a left turn on a red light to evade sighting. After I passed (I was going to try to see where the fleeing truck went), the first truck pulled back onto the road and followed. I indicated that it had turned, and then followed, looking in every driveway and cul-de-sac along the way. A little over a mile later, I saw where the first truck had pulled into a gas station/convenience store, abandoning the pursuit, so I stopped to offer my information as a witness.

The driver declined, saying that it was apparent no one was hurt, his truck was fine, and any damage would just be his deductible. But he did call his insurance company.

While that first driver basically shrugged it off, it made me a bit angry -- what would that second driver have done if he'd hit me?

Well, the general insulation of drivers and lack of care for other humans reared its ugly head just two days ago.

A friend of mine was out riding on his normal lunchtime ride, only a few miles from my house, going down a gentle hill... I'll let his own words sum it up:

Location of the accident, from my friend's viewpoint.
"I was heading north (just before 23rd Ave) on Shaw. The car was heading south on Shaw (uphill)...& turned left in front of me. He stopped in the middle of the northbound lane. I hit the brakes...& rear wheel locked. Rear wheel pitched around to my right & tossed me about 10-15ft. I hit the ground (right side & back of head) & then hit the car (bumper?) left side of head (so, I must've rolled/bounced). The gash on the left of my helmet would suggest I hit the license plate (frame). I lay there in a heap...gathering my senses. Driver asked 3 times if I was "OK". I never I was out of it. A witness walking his doggie saw me on the ground when he looked up at the see the driver back up, then head south on Shaw. He asked him, "Where are you going?!?"...
I was going at least 30-35..."

The bike's forks shattered. His helmet made the ultimate sacrifice to save his brain. He hit the pavement, suffering a good bit of road rash.

And the car continued on with its way, disappearing down the road, leaving my friend laying in the road, bleeding, unsure if his condition.

Fortunately, the road rash was the extent of the injuries, according to his initial reports and the assessment of 911 responders. What if that WASN'T the case?

But what possesses, or may DOESN'T possess, some one to have such disregard, not only for the LAW (fleeing the scene of an accident), but for a fellow human being whom they've just cause injury? What could be more important at that moment?

A line from Terminator 2 comes to mind. The 'tween John Connor is with the Terminator, on the run to Mexico. They stop at a gas station, and two children come running around, playing a game of shoot-'em-up. John looks at the Terminator and says, "We're not gonna make it. People, I mean."

The Terminator replies, "It's in your nature to destroy yourselves."

Telling stuff. Where are we headed as a species? With such disregard for our fellow humans, it's not difficult to imagine.

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