A driver attempting to flee after hitting a bicyclist in Bethlehem, PA was blocked by a quick-thinking bus driver. Check it out:
Here’s the report from the Bethlehem Police Department blog.
On 02 April 2012 at approximately 3:06 p.m., expert cyclist Frank Pavlick was struck from behind while riding across the Fahy Bridge. Mr. Pavlick was hit by a seventeen year old juvenile who was attempting to pass a LANTA bus. Immediately following the impact, the juvenile attempted to flee the scene to avoid identification and apprehension. The driver of the LANTA bus, identified as Richard Gubish, Jr., saw the crash in his rear view mirror and also saw the driver attempting to get away. Mr. Gubish took immediate and decisive action and positioned his bus across the lanes of the bridge, effectively blocking the path of the getaway driver. Another witness to the crash, Judson Smull, stopped to render aid to the injured Pavlick, who implored Smull to go after the offending driver to get the license plate. Smull also took immediate action, and following the lead of Mr. Gubish, positioned his car directly behind the offending vehicle, further blocking any attempt to escape. read more
Hats off to Mr. Richard Gubish, Jr.!
If you care to subject yourself to Youtube comments, you’ll notice the Bethlehem PD supports the bicyclist’s right to control the lane. Bethlehem has a well-educated police department, in part, because it has an excellent advocacy organization — Coalition for Appropriate Transportation — which has focused a lot of energy on education of bicyclists and public officials.
The one thing that concerns me from the PD blog post is this:
The juvenile offender has been the first in Bethlehem, and perhaps the state, to be charged under a new section of Pennsylvania law that provides additional protection for cyclists on our roadways. The section took effect at 12:01 a.m. on the date of the crash. The section is, in pertinent part:§ 3303. Overtaking vehicle on the left.(a) General rule.–The following rules shall govern the overtaking and passing of vehicles proceeding in the same direction, subject to the limitations, exceptions and special rules stated in this chapter:(3) The driver of a motor vehicle overtaking a pedalcycle proceeding in the same direction shall pass to the left of the pedalcycle within not less than four feet at a careful and prudent reduced speed.In addition, the juvenile offender has been charged in Northampton County Juvenile Court with:
- § 3742(a) – Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury (M2)
- § 3334(a) – Turning Movements and Required Signals
A passing clearance violation? Really? He was driving recklessly and rear-ended another vehicle (which happened to be a bicycle). Is that what you charge a driver with when they slam into the back of a car while driving like an impetuous jackass?
I realize reckless is hard to prosecute, but doesn’t Pennsylvania have a violation for careless-aggressive or something similar? How ’bout fleeing the scene? He got blocked before he could escape, but he should still be charged with hit & run.
This kid should lose his license until he’s 30! This is exactly the kind of behavior we need remove from our roads.
UPDATE from the Bethlehem PD blog:
The charge “Accidents Involving Death or Personal Injury” is the charge that covers what is commonly referred to as “Hit and Run” and it also covers the duty of every driver to stop and render aid when a person is injured in an accident.
CO Author update: I should have looked up the statute, but I posted this in a hurry as I was leaving town. My bad. John Schubert, who lives near Bethlehem, will be posting more follow-up on this story here… soon. The exceptional way this has been handled by public officials and police in Bethlehem offers a living example of how an advocacy strategy focused on education and full-lane equality improves traffic justice.