It's hard to fathom that anyone would leave a human being to die in a crosswalk, in the middle of the road or in a ditch, but we've seen examples of all three in recent weeks, as hit and runs that leave pedestrians dead or seriously injured seem to be on the rise.
In PoCo on Sept. 10, Riverside Secondary student Annie Leung, 16, was killed in a crosswalk on Mary Hill Road.
On Vancouver Island on Sept. 11, 24-year-old Molly Burton was left lying in a riverside marsh after being hit by a car. Fortunately, a good Samaritan heard her cries and found her, but she's still in hospital and may lose her leg. A 16-year-old boy who left the scene is facing charges.
In Surrey, a 35-year-old woman was left lying on the road with life-threatening injuries after a hit and run last Monday. A 49-year-old man has turned himself in to police.
We could use this space to write about the need to focus on the road while driving, to be free of alcohol and distractions like cellphones - and to slow down. But we've all heard those warnings, and many choose to ignore them.
We could look at whether there's something in modern society that's causing people to lose empathy for others, allowing them to hit a pedestrian then race off - not knowing whether the person will live or die. But that's a question best left to researchers.
All we can really do, then, is ask pedestrians to treat crossing the road - or even walking on or beside it - as a potentially dangerous activity that could be life-altering, and to assume drivers don't see them, at least until they make eye contact and see the vehicle slow down.
Hit-and-run crashes are the fault of drivers, not pedestrians, but we all have to do what we can to stay safe. There's one more thing we can do, which shouldn't be necessary but is: we can ask each driver to make a pledge to himself or herself that, if the unthinkable happens and they hit a pedestrian, they'll do the right thing and stop - then do everything they can to help that person.
Hopefully, you're already driving safely and won't have to worry about such a scenario.
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