I have never had an accident, before a rainy day 2 years ago. To be honest I don’t even have a driver’s license because of my latent suspicion that I am doomed to kill someone eventually with a car. I managed to have an accident with my bike. I was the stronger road user.
It was on the day after changing to daylight saving time in the spring. I t was raining so naturally I was driving slowly and carefully. I found out that driving slowly can be really dangerous! I crossed at a green traffic light. However the time between my green and the pedestrian green was not sufficient for my bike pace. When I arrived at the pedestrian crossing a boy on his scooters shot out into the street without looking left or right like he was a horse at the races.
Right after landing in a big pile of limbs and means of transportation a guy shot out of his shop yelling he would call the police. After crying sufficiently the boy started yelling at me that it was forbidden to jump a red light. Witch I hadn’t. I was starting to wonder how I would prove that though. As the threat of immanent police appearance was hanging over me anyways I asked the boy if he wanted me to either call an ambulance, the police or his parents.
Much to my surprise not only did he stop crying immediately, but also got onto his roller and shot away (this time luckily without accident). That was also quite shocking as I had no Idea about the applicable law. Was I somehow responsible to make him see a doctor to avoid future liability on my side? I estimated his age at about 11, 13 being the maximum.
In the past similar accidents have been completely blamed on the road users – the fact that some traffic lights are not configured correctly does not concern judges at all. During the next few weeks I was an emotional wreck. Was it a hit and run because I did not call the police after the boy had disappeared (the shop owner had not actually called the police)? Had the concerned parents informed the police? Was there a warrant out for me?
I started wearing a jacket of a different color, got a new bike (the old one was totally ruined…) and panicked every time I saw the police. Finally an acquaintance informed me that while the accident was legally 100% my fault and by definition negligent physical injury, my offer to call the police had been enough to make it not a hit and run even though he was legally a child.
Apparently I live in a country where the state is not responsible for safe traffic light management but a 12 year old can decide not to get a medical exam after a traffic accident just because he doesn’t want his parents to know he skipped school. Weird world…
By the way- the day I ran over a child with my bike I was going to my daughter’s kinder garden to craft lanterns for a holiday. We made a beautiful owl-lantern – with a smack of bad conscience on my side.
Have a wonderful week!