A cyclist seriously injured in a Christmas morning Mission District hit and run has recovered enough to be released from the hospital, SFPD says, but the driver of the vehicle that collided with him remains at large.
At about 12:20 a.m. Saturday, December 25, the victim, a 24-year-old man who remains unnamed for privacy purposes, was riding west on 25th Street when a gray sedan traveling east on 25th turned north onto Bartlett Street and reportedly struck him. The sedan did not stop, and continued down Bartlett. The cyclist was transported to SF General, where he remained for much of last week, SFPD says.
According to an Examiner report from last Thursday, the driver “left behind evidence at the scene…and a witness described what happened to police.” However, according to SFPD spokesperson Officer Albie Esparza, the driver had yet to be arrested.
Esparza confirmed to the Appeal that, per the Examiner report, the cyclist did not have a front headlight, which is legally required for night riding.
According to a Mission Local reader, following the incident the cyclist’s “head was bleeding open and he was in shock. His body was thrown far from his bike.”
Esparza also confirms that the cyclist was not wearing a helmet, noting that their use is “not legally required for adults, but is certainly recommended.”
Many cyclists, I hasten to add, take issue with the question of helmet use. For example, Critical Mass “founder” Chris Carlsson says on Streetsblog that this smacks of “blaming of the victim” and that “(i)t’s not a moral imperative to buy a commodity that offers meager protection in order to be critical of a ridiculously hostile road structure.”
Notorious cyclist and Appeal pal Matt Baume says that he sees the merit in arguments that “helmet-wearing is a silly, unnecessary, anachronistic scare-mongering vestige of a cultural prejudice against bicycles.”
“For me,” says Baume, “it comes down to this: when I am riding my bike, I spend 99% of the time surrounded by fast-moving steel cages, the operators of which may ignore me or may not care about my safety. If there’s something easy that I can do to protect my brain, where I do most of my thinking, then I will do it. I’ve never been in an accident where the helmet was necessary, but it does put me somewhat at ease to know that if it happens, I have a little extra protection. I’ve never needed to use a fire extinguisher, but it’s nice to have one in the kitchen anyway.”
While the extent of the cyclist’s injuries remain unspecified due to medical privacy issues, his discharge from SF General is certainly good news, and we wish him a speedy recovery.
While helmet and perhaps even headlight use is a debatable subject, it’s hard to argue with the laws saying that when you hit someone with your car, you’re supposed to stop. If you can help the police track down the driver responsible, you can do so anonymously by calling (415) 575-4444 or by texting a tip to TIP411.