I thank Chance every day that, so far, I've never harmed anyone while driving. A few days ago an inattentive driver in his 30s (was he talking on the phone?) killed a bicyclist on nearby popular riding street. If he's a decent human being his error will haunt him for the rest of his life. I know it would devastate me.
On the other hand, there are the hit and run homicides ..
Bicyclist injuries up sharply in metro area:So about once a week there's a significant, reported, hit and run car-bike "accident" in a modest metro area. Across the nation there must be at least one an hour. I suspect most are never solved.
Rodney Scroggins was riding his bicycle to work when he was hit by a motorist....
... Jimmy Nisser, 65, of St. Louis Park, was killed when he was struck by a vehicle Sept. 11 while riding on Excelsior Blvd. near 32nd Street...
... there have been 47 hit and run accidents involving bicycles and motor vehicles in Minneapolis this year. Police are still looking for the drivers who hit Nisser and Scroggins....
The only fixes I can see are more sophisticated automotive sensors. Standard proximity radar, IR sensors, visible light sensors -- at tracking people, bicycles and motorbikes -- sensors that track direction and motion and anticipate impact, slowing a car, triggering the car horn to warn both driver and pedestrian of pending impact, alerting the driver with sound and light.
The least intrusive aides would be active windshields that use sensor data to enhance images corresponding to pedestrians and bicycles. The bicyclist dimly seen out of the corner of one's eye is now a bright spot on the windshield surrounded by a 8 foot diameter circle.
Finally, sensors that detect an impact and then send the last available imaging along with the vehicle ID directly to the police. Then, when an accident is reported, finding the killer is a trivial task.
We have the technology to do all of this. We've invested a lot of money to make the inside of the car safer. Now's the time to require technologies to make the outside of the car safer too.
Update: see also.