Going about my chores this morning, a large part of Hoe Street was closed due to an accident around 6am. Freewheeler covers it here and the pictures he took were used in the local press reports.
It appears the driver was involved in a short police pursuit where he failed to stop and crashed at what must have been some speed into a lamp post. Police have confirmed he has been arrested - it would also explain the length of time the police took over the scene - Hoe Street was shut for 6 hours or so.
Traffic, of course, was terrible in the area - another time I am glad I am riding my bicycle and not in the car.
What I did notice, was that, in the area of the crash most of the roads connecting Hoe Street to the other major road, Forest Road, are one-way, but many drivers decided to ignore this fact and turn the roads into two-way thoroughfares for the duration of the road-closure. Since there was no police directing traffic down these roads, and people going the wrong way in normal circumstances is a rare event, I can only conclude that drivers decided to wilfully ignore the rules. In fact, most could have been only a little inconvenienced by going an extra few hundred metres and waiting at the lights to turn into Forest Road legally, so the alternative wasn't even that difficult.
Whilst around these roads, I saw some motorists speed down narrow roads the wrong way at high speed - some forcing oncoming traffic to pull over. It seems amazing that these drivers, only moments before, must have seen the carnage of a terrible accident, but could not associate this scene as a possible consequence of their illegal driving.
Now, my point is that many motorists say that a significant minority of cyclists choose to ignore the rules (lights, one-way streets) at times. And it is true - they do. Whilst not condoning this activity, however, it has to be said that the reason cyclists do it, is because these road layouts, especially one-way streets, are normally designed to accommodate cars, with no thought to cyclists, who then have to follow circuitous routes, sometimes on very busy roads. And yet, incidents like the one above, show that, as soon as things become a bit more difficult for some motorists, they abandon the rules as well. I guess this shows that Cyclists and Motorists are all human beings, and cyclists aren't some special lawless group who are more prone to ignoring rules.
All this said, I hope the driver in this accident makes a full a speedy recovery. No matter what circumstances of any accident, one always hopes that lives aren't permanently blighted by the consequences.