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...(though the driver later called in the crash)

I would have said "owner" instead of "driver". More than an hour after the crash, the owner called police from home and claimed to have been the driver. We know she was the owner of the SUV; the rest of her story has not been fully corroborated.

Interesting to read that the Examiner is concerned about the lack of bike paths and walking trails in Tysons. Good to know that they do not always have a knee-jerk anti-cycling bias.

Congrats to Richmond. Maybe Comcast/NBC will move coverage of the event from Universal Sports to the main NBC station.

Also good to hear about the Chicago bikeshare system. The more cities with successful bikeshare programs, the larger the nationwide political support for bike infrastructure.

How the hell does a 21-year old (or anyone, for that matter) become so desensitized and callous as to be able to run down another human being and flee? What we need is a battery of profound, penetrating psychological questions as a barrier to issuing drivers licenses to incomplete or damaged human beings.

Unfortunately, I don't have that much faith in psychiatry.

These situations never fail to depress me; not just because of the loss of life/limb, but because they act like lingchi on my faith in people to live up to even minimal standards of humanity.

If you hit and run, that should be it, done, finished, no second chance, no more reckless time behind the wheel. This is more than mere bad judgment. It's sociopathic, and a sociopath has no business pioting a two-ton+ battering ram.

It's a mark of achievement for DC, Denver and a handful of other cities that have fully embraced bikeshare that the existing Chicago system is considered small at 12 stations and 140 bikes. When it launched in 2010, it was quite an achievement for the city, and matched in size DC's (operational at that moment) SmartBike system. Now, every city that's launching a system starts at no fewer than 400 bikes/40 stations. What a difference a year makes. I think very soon we will see mid-size towns of 80 - 100k people starting systems with 8 - 12 stations and 80 - 150 bikes.

Good work everyone!

I don't want to defend a hit-and-run driver, but not everyone behaves well in crises situations. Especially not 21 year olds. Some people freak out and do stupid things - things they might regret and be ashamed of. It doesn't make it any less legal, but from an ethical standpoint I'd want to know if she came to her senses and called the police herself, or if they tracked her down on their own. There's a difference in my mind.

Freaking out and doing stupid things is fine for trivial matters. When it means the difference between life and death for someone whom you've placed in that unfortunate position, I have to disagree with you. Twenty-one is a little late to be learning right and wrong on serious issues as uncomplicated as this ("do I run and save myself or take responsibility for the person I've injured?"). If you hit and run, you better be asking yourself some serious questions about what kind of human being you are, even if you are 21 (3 years past the age of majority in Maryland).

Just my take.

I guess my thought is that sometimes something like this happens and someone reacts in a way that is surprising even to them - some sort of reptilian brain reaction. While regrettable and illegal, it may be understandable. People who've learned right and wrong may not have learned how to deal with decision making during intense experiences. Isn't this what the military and football coaches spend a lot of time trying to teach people to do? It's what they decide to do when this initial shock is over that I'm more likely to judge them on.

At 21 your brain is still developing. That we give people rights before that age doesn't change their biology.

So why has a 22 y.o. driver been charged already in killing a scooter driver, yet Natasha's killer still has not faced charges?
http://www.wtop.com/?nid=41&sid=2557358
And the "investigation is ongoing" for the killer of the 21-y.o. Port Tobacco cyclist?? They found the driver. She also did not stop. Why hasn't she been charged so quickly?

wash: there are plenty of 18-21 yr olds in the military who make critical decisions every day. To me the flight response in this situation is a sign of poor character.

7: the police stopped the driver who hit the scooter. I believe there were also witnesses. He didn't have a chance to escape home and get his story straight.

there are plenty of 18-21 yr olds in the military who make critical decisions every day.

Right. And they've been trained how to do so.

All so-called crimes of passion are pretty much knee-jerk "reptilian brain reactions." Being unable to think before acting in matters of life and death is seldom an acceptable or succesful defense tactic.

This isn't a cognitive decision in the sense of "what should I do?" There is no gray here to ponder. A 21-year old can differentiate between black and white. This isn't a complex issue. You harm someone accidentally, you help them. What decision-making process is required to understand and execute that maxim? If you are a child, there's room for understanding. But when we license 21-year olds (and younger people) to drive an automobile, I think it's with the understanding that they are far enough along in their decision-making development to be trusted to act appropriately (which is to say ethically) when something like this happens. Because this person is 21, you are understanding. What about 65-year olds who never developed the proper decision-making faculties? Many much older adults behave in exactly this fashion. I don't think age has anything to do with it.

This isn't about whether to throw the ball or hold onto it and run. As for the military, I don't know how much time is spent on decision-making vs, say, dogmatically following orders. Based on accounts coming out of the two major wars we are currently engaged in, I have my guesses. But that's another issue entirely.

It's what they decide to do when this initial shock is over that I'm more likely to judge them on. You mean after the guilt and fear of apprehension/incarceration set in? Either way, while the shock is fading, someone else's life may be fading.

I think your statment works in a good-samaritan situation where the person isn't the agent, but an observer, and must decide whether to intervene or just keep walking.

Like I said, I have to disagree on this one.

Young brains are different than older brains.

"Scientists have identified a specific region of the brain called the amygdala which is responsible for instinctual reactions including fear and aggressive behavior. This region develops early. However, the frontal cortex, the area of the brain that controls reasoning and helps us think before we act, develops later. This part of the brain is still changing and maturing well into adulthood."

None of this changes the illegality of it, nor does it make the driver not wrong. You're right, they should stop and help them. But perhaps 21 year olds can not be trusted to act appropriately. I was just living with a 20 year old and it was an eye-opening experience I can tell you.

I'm comfortable saying they're wrong or have done something illegal. I'm not comfortable calling her desensitized or callous. Perhaps you do have too much faith in people, but I think you hold people to a high standard when you expect them to always make selfless decisions quickly in the midst of a terrifying situation (especially when their brain is still developing). The instinctual reaction in this case for many people, unfortunately, is to run. It takes a lot of maturity to beat that down and stay - and I just don't think the average 21 year old is there yet.

Still, she's wrong and - assuming the facts are as we think we understand them - should be prosecuted.

I didn't question the young vs. old brain statement, but since you threw up the link, two things:

(1) The linked page speaks to adolescents which, Wiki informs me (referencing Erik Erickson's "Stages of Psyhcosocial Development"), generally refers to people between the ages of 13 and 19. People between 20 and 40 are young adults (40? really?). The comparisons made on that page are between adolescents and adults.

(2) I find the closing paragraph on that page to be interesting (emphasis mine)--again, keep in mind that "young people" as used on this page are adolescents, aged `14 to 18:

These brain differences don’t mean that young people can’t make good decisions or tell the difference between right and wrong. It also doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be held responsible for their actions. But an awareness of these differences can help parents, teachers, advocates, and policy makers understand, anticipate, and manage the behavior of adolescents.

FWIW, I am in agreement with Devil. If we took automobile deaths more seriously in the USA, it would be drilled into people that it is absolutely _not_ acceptable to cause an injury and leave the scene. That we are _not_ in the habit of prosecuting this vigorously is, IMO, another example of "windshield perspective." I think this is similar to the way we excuse collisions by calling them "accidents."

IMO opinion, what is needed is a vulnerable user law with enough teeth to scare drivers into recognizing the seriousness of auto-related injuries and deaths. A law that makes it possible to prosecute car-owners who allow their cars to be used by irresponsible idiots might help as well.

Studies show that people respond to their environment. Without a significant change to the social environment of driving, we will continue to see people killed at about 100/day in the US, a rate that is much higher than in most other industrialized nations.

I'm not arguing that they don't know the difference between right and wrong. I'm arguing that they make bad choices anyway. So I'm not sure tougher laws will change that. No more than they have gotten kids to stop using drugs.

Again, what it's wrong and illegal, but not signs of being a sociopath or callous. It's a sign that they are young and have poor reasoning skills.

And the part I quoted says the following this part of the brain is still changing and maturing well into adulthood.

Here's another source:

"initial expectations were that the teenage remodelling might stop at 18, 19 maybe 20 and now we're just looking at the brain imaging and looking at cognitive development - probably 25."

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