A Penn student was the victim of a hit-and-run accident near campus that sent him to the hospital on Monday afternoon.
A car struck the male undergraduate student, who was crossing the intersection of 37th and Chestnut streets on his bicycle, at about 3 p.m., according to the Division of Public Safety. The driver did not stop the car and fled the scene.
The student, whose name was not released, was taken to the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania to be treated for non-life-threatening injuries, according to DPS. The Philadelphia Police Accident Investigation Division is handling the investigation.
“I heard a terrible crashing sound from the intersection. When I looked over, I saw a man lying in the road next to a toppled bike,” wrote Kristin Larsen, a doctoral student at the Graduate School of Education who was at the scene, in an email. “The bone of his left forearm was broken in two and part of it was sticking out through his skin … He was face down on the pavement and his body was shaking.”
Larsen and other people nearby tended to the student until medical personnel arrived.
“It was comforting to know how many good samaritans are out there willing to stop everything and help out,” wrote Ambria Reed, another GSE doctoral student who was at the scene and made the 9-1-1 call. She added that student injured was not wearing a helmet.
Eyewitnesses were unable to record the license plate information of the vehicle, Reed wrote. Only one person was able to catch the model of the car — a gold Toyota Camry, Larsen recalled hearing.
“It was discouraging to see how a driver’s actions will go unpunished for breaking someone’s arm while on a bike,” Reed wrote.
Pennsylvania’s Vehicle Code, also known as Title 75, requires drivers involved in an accident that results in injury or death to “immediately stop the vehicle at the scene of the accident” to give information and render aid.
Fleeing the scene of the accident is considered a first-degree misdemeanor. If the hit-and-run accident results in serious injury, the crime is bumped up to a third-degree felony punishable by a minimum prison sentence of 90 days and a minimum fine of $1,000. If the victim dies, the crime is punished by a minimum sentence if one year and minimum fine of $2,500.
Some lawmakers believe these penalties are not strict enough.
“We must stiffen the penalties for drivers who hit people with their cars and then flee the scene with no regard for the victim,” said State Sen. Larry Farnese (D-Phila.) in a statement in March. “The offender gets a light sentence while the families of the victims suffer a lifetime of pain.”
Earlier this year, Farnese and other lawmakers reintroduced two bills to the Pennsylvania State Senate that seek to increase penalties for drivers involved in hit-and-run accidents.
“I am hoping for bipartisan support to get these laws passed,” Farnese said. “The victims of these crimes and their families deserve it.”
Bicycle safety at intersections is a focus of the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, published by the Philadelphia City Planning Commission last October.
The plan calls for renovations to the city’s streets to make them safer and more accommodating to cyclists.
“Improvements to the design, operation, and maintenance of streets, sidewalks and intersections will reduce pedestrian and bicycle crashes,” it states. “Bicyclists should feel safe riding in the street.”
The implementation of the plan began with a phase that covers northwest Philadelphia through Germantown, with a second phase covering west and southwest Philadelphia soon to follow.Comments powered by Disqus
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