There are a number of acceptable reactions a motorist can have to accidentally clipping a cyclist and sending him reeling off the road—pull over and see if he’s OK, call an ambulance if he’s not, exchange information, then apologize profusely before slinking back to your car. But when British driver Emma Way, 21, hit a biker on Sunday, she drove off, then boasted about it on Twitter:
It was bad driving off without checking on her victim, 29-year-old chef and avid cyclist Toby Hockley, but what’s worse is that she could’ve gotten away with it if she hadn’t shared her crime with the world.
Hockley, who’d been riding in the 100-mile Boudicca Sportive road cycling event, was hit by Way’s mirror and knocked into some hedges, but only suffered minor scrapes and bruises. “A car came tearing round the blind corner and narrowly missed a cyclist in front of me,” he told the UK’s Daily Mail. “She came onto my side of the road, I took the wing mirror off and I went flying off my bike into a hedge.” He felt lucky to be alive, but had no evidence to give police, so he decided not to report the incident.
But May’s tweet raised a firestorm of protest on Twitter, thanks to her cheeky hashtag, and she learned that police, too, use the social media platform when the Norwich police tweeted this at her:
Whoops. (RTC stands for "road traffic collision.")
The once-swaggering Way suddenly turned bashful and, soon after, deleted her Twitter account altogether. But the damage had already been done. Twitter users had dug up more damning evidence from her account—including photos of her tailgating other vehicles and a photo of her speedometer at 95 mph (20 mph over Britain's national limit)—and passed it on to police.
In the days following, she was suspended from her trainee position at accouting firm Larking Gowen, and dragged through the British national press with nearly as much abandon as she swiped Hockley. Today, Way issued this half-apology: “If I did cause any damage to him I would obviously apologize, but I didn’t feel him even touch my car … If I knew that he was hurt I would never have driven off. If I could take back doing that tweet I would, you know my whole career is at risk now, and any damage caused to the cyclist.”
The Norfolk Police are still investigating the incident. And Emma Way, for her part, has proven herself clueless.