Reporting Road Accidents

Interersting column in Scotland on Sunday by Norman Harper.

After describing an incident he witnessed where a pedestrian sadly lost his life after starting to cross the road without chcecking properly for cars, he concludes “In any case, the next time you read of a pedestrian being knocked down and killed by a car, pause for a moment before assuming that the fault was the driver’s.”

I’d second that in spades for reporting of motorcycle deaths. A particularly egregious example from the Bucks Examiner still sticks in my mind – the headline was something like, “biker killed after hitting family car.” On getting to the final third of the story it was explained that the family car in question had done an unsignalled right turn across his path on a fast A-road, the driver admitted that he hadn’t checked for oncoming traffic – yet the casual reader of the piece will assume that it’s just another death-crazy biker who got what he was looking for. Would it have been so hard to write “being hit by”?

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