A lot of drivers hate cyclists. A lot of cyclists hate drivers. Then there's Emma Way, who hates cyclists so much that she hit one with her car, drove away, and bragged on Twitter about how it wasn't her problem because the cyclist "doesn't pay road tax." Unfortunately for Emma, her local police also use Twitter.
The incident occurred yesterday in England, when Emma was driving in Norwich. According to a witness, she sped around a corner just as cyclists who were part of a 100-mile race were coming the other way and hit 29-year old rider Toby Hockley. The mirror hit Toby and broke, sending him off the bike and into the trees where he was banged up, but wasn't seriously injured.
You'd think that, as a motorist, Emma would stop and help Toby since she just hit him. Nope. Not the case. Instead, she drove off, and tweeted about the incident right after it happened.
There are some things you just don't tweet about. Committing a crime, and then acting indignant about it, is one of those things.
But in today's always connected world, Emma made a pretty critical error. Twitter users saw the tweet, and instead of siding by her "suck it cyclists" mantra, they sent it off to the Norwich Police Department, who also happen to be active on social media.
Even though the crash hadn't totally been confirmed, people started looking into Emma's social media profiles. They reportedly found photos of her tailgating other drivers as well as a picture of her speedometer a 95 MPH that were also sent into the police. Once the tweet started to go viral, Emma deleted her Twitter account. But by that point, the damage was done and the tweet was out there in perpetuity.
And that's when the rider decided to come forward. For some reason, Toby wasn't going to tell anyone because he didn't want his girlfriend to fear for his safety while riding. His under-sharing is almost as extreme as Emma's over-sharing. But once Toby saw her attitude in the tweet and how widely it was shared, he contacted police.
His riding club, Iceni Velo, issued this statement about the incident:
As a club we are conscious that we share the road with other road users all of whom are expected to adhere to the requirements of the Highway Code. Incidents like this seem to be relatively rare and we are disappointed by the reaction of the individual motorist involved. We hope this raises the awareness of how vulnerable people can be whether that's as a cyclist or pedestrian on our roads. The club and its committee will cooperate fully with police enquires where necessary and when asked to do so.
Once they had both pieces of the puzzle, Norwich Police confirmed via Twitter that they had identified who was involved and were "progressing with them."
Just because you can share something doesn't mean you should share something. That means a hit-and-run you just committed is not the best thing to put out there if you don't want to get caught. Emma learned that lesson the hard way, but thankfully she didn't kill anyone.
Think before you tweet folks. And don't drive away if you hit a cyclist.
Photo Credit: Iceni Velo Cycling Club
Update: We've spoken to Toby Hockley, the rider involved in the collision, to get a bit of background on the incident. He's pretty sure it was him, anyway. "The police said it was me", he told us, and the time and location fit the bill.
"I was riding on a country B-road with a friend, and descending a hill on a blind right hand corner", Toby told us. "I was sticking to the left as the corner was blind. A car came round in the opposite direction going much too quickly to make the corner safely. It missed the rider in front of me but hit me, my right leg caught the front right wing. I was thrown up onto the bonnet, I hit the side of windsrceen and the wing mirror. I bounced back off the car and went through a hedge for about 20 metres. I managed to keep control of the bike; the back brake had locked on but I managed to rejoin the road and stop in the middle of it"
Amazingly Toby made it through the incident with only minor damage to himself and the bike. "I have a sore elbow, a bruised knee, nettle stings from riding through the hedge, but nothing serious", he told us. "The headset of the bike is loose from the collision, one of the levers got knocked round the bars and there's bits of nettle in the chain, but I think the bike is intact."
"Myself and my friend burst out laughing when we finally came to a stop, more out of shock than anything else", he said. "You count your limbs and carry on".
In response to the incident Ms Way's employers have also made a short statement, both in response to emails from road.cc readers and also in the comments below. "Please be assured that this is not a view held by the firm and we most certainly do not condone this behaviour", they told us. "We are taking the incidents very seriously, and a full and detailed investigation will be carried out and appropriate action taken. We have already spoken to Norfolk Police."