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What Do We Do When a Reckless Motorist Refuses to Stop Driving?

Today on the Streetsblog Network, Rick Bernardi at BicycleLaw.com looks at a particularly heinous hit-and-run case that typifies the failure of law enforcers to keep recidivist reckless drivers off U.S. roads.

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In August, 20-year-old college student Henry Schmidt was struck and seriously injured by a driver while walking his bike on a Portland street. The motorist reportedly fled the scene, and contacted authorities only after police, acting on an anonymous tip, found her car, which she had taken to a body shop outside of town.

And then more details emerged. When [Miriam] Clinton hit Schmidt, she was driving on a suspended license. And it wasn’t even her first suspension. It was her fourth suspension since 2009. In fact, since 2007, Clinton has had 12 convictions on traffic violations, including five convictions for speeding, improper use of a seat belt, failure to obey a traffic device or signal, driving while using a cell phone, and driving while suspended.

And it was this atrocious driving record, as much as her insulting attempt to paint herself as somebody who suddenly "realized" one fine summer day that she "might have been involved" in a vicious hit and run, that makes this particular hit and run even more egregious.

Clinton was charged with two counts of felony hit-and-run, but the overarching problem is that the system has failed to keep this serial reckless driver -- and countless others -- from getting behind the wheel. Bernardi surmises that, regardless of her sentence, Clinton will likely continue to endanger other people.

"We know this, because she has already demonstrated four times now that nothing can keep her from driving," writes Bernardi. "And what do we as a society do with a person like that?"

Also today: Stop and Move wonders whether Fresno police will take action after a cyclist captured a hit-and-run on video; Flat Iron Bike critiques the efficacy of bike-ped paths in Boulder; and Peninsula Transportation Alternatives explains how Stanford University has saved $100,000,000 in parking construction over the last decade.

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