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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 October, 2004, 14:27 GMT 15:27 UK
Would you help an injured person?
Injured woman lying in road
An unconscious and bleeding woman was left in a road as several drivers swerved to miss her in south-east London.

The footage was taken from a bus camera, whose driver stopped to aid the woman. The CCTV cameras captured at least 12 drivers driving round the woman without stopping to help.

The 25-year old female suffered serious head injuries and was lying next to the kerb with her head in the gutter.

Would you have stopped to help? What does this say about our attitudes towards strangers? Send us your views using the post form on the right.

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

Do we not care for other people anymore if it is not convenient for us?
Tony Kenny, UK
Were drivers justified in leaving the injured woman?
Frank, Scotland

A few years ago, my elderly grandfather collapsed on a street pavement, out of breath and unable to walk. Everyone who passed him refused to help. Hours later, he managed to get himself up and go home but spent the rest of his life worrying that he would die out in the cold, alone and in pain. Last October he passed away peacefully with all his family around but what he so feared could easily happen to any of us. Remember, that stranger on the street is part of someone's family - if it were your loved one in trouble you would hope someone would stop and help rather than walk on by.
Dhamayanthi, Edinburgh, Scotland

The footage is scary! What has society (or what is left of it) come to? I just hope the lady is well now or at least recovering!
MULLAH Hafeezud Din, B'ham, UK

I can't believe people would just drive past. I'm shocked and confused as to why people wouldn't stop to help a fellow human being!
Steven, Newcastle Uk

I actually think the main reason that nobody stopped is because they were in their cars. If anyone had been walking down the street I am sure they would have stopped. I do not normally drive, and if I notice someone who looks like they need help I almost always stop, unless I feel directly threatened for some reason. However, I was driving the other day and passed a couple who had broken down and were trying to flag down a passing car. I shocked myself by not stopping - I justified it that I was running a bit late, there were cars coming up behind me etc.... It's just so much easier to drive on past than walk on past.
Ann, UK

The names of the drivers should be found from the number plates and then they should be named and shamed
Tony, UK

In this age of lawsuits, regardless of circumstance or indeed sense, I would have to say that I would be inclined to stay clear. Sadly. As a St Johns certified firstaider I would hope to be sufficiently educated to help, and yet I would find myself doing nothing other than call 999 as there appears to be little in the way of protection for those who go out their way to attempt to help someone else.
Peter H, Glasgow

About 2 years ago, something like this happened in the US. It was worse because not only did no one stop, but people run the person over, and it was in the middle of town!!! This is wrong and it sickens me.
Tony, Tucson, USA

How could anyone not stop?
Dave Rollason, Weybridge, Surrey
How could anyone not stop? It's disgusting. Yes, you could be sued. Yes, you could be mugged. And yes - it could be a relative of yours left dying because no one stopped to help.
Dave Rollason, Weybridge, Surrey

One feels sorry for a genuine case but this is so likely to be a scam to get you into trouble that it isn't worth stopping
Phil, UK

Without a doubt I would help someone injured, trouble is these days people suspect another motive and might think it's a set up for a robbery. But I would never the less stop and help, how can you take the chance.
Peter Berry, Portsmouth England

Many of you have given reason why you wouldn't help because of fear of getting hit by other cars, or moving the person for fear they have a syringe or weapon on them. Nobody said a 'good Samaritan' has to stop and physically help!! You just have to call an ambulance and stay near by. That's not getting involved. I am personally disgusted at these people who just kept on driving by. The fact that any of you have to rationalize why you wouldn't or shouldn't help, just proves the direction our society has now taken!
Trisha, Montreal Canada

It is easy to judge those individuals who don't stop. But we shouldn't always be so quick to condemn them. Instead we need to address the reasons for this shocking state of affairs. People assume someone else will do something; they fear being sued; and they fear being put in danger themselves. I suspect that list may include those who simply don't care, which is a depressing reflection on them.

Each situation, where you may have to stop and help someone, should be judged on the circumstances of the time. If you think you can help, and it is safe to do so, even if it is just comforting the person by reassuring them, get involved. Never leave anyone, it may stay on your conscience and haunt you forever.
Stephen H, Sheffield, UK

I would not help, be cause as a Black person in the USA, a cop will think you had something to do with it, arrest you and ask questions later. The most I would do is call the police from my cell phone.

Even supposing it isn't a sham and you're not attacked, there's the chance of infection, the chance of being run over
Christy, Newcastle, UK
Not a chance. Firstly, I won't stop my car on the road and risk someone else come slamming into me. Secondly, the situation as a whole isn't worth the risk. Even supposing it isn't a sham and you're not attacked, there's the chance of infection, the chance of being run over yourself, and if you avoid all that, the possibility of being sued. Sorry, not worth it. I'll call 999 and that's as far as I'm going.
Christy, Newcastle, UK

Funny how they never show stuff like this on the TV adverts enticing the world to "Come and visit London".
Ian, Brit in USA

It doesn't surprise me, because it happened in a big city. If the same happened in a village, the first person to come across them would have stopped, they would have gone to the nearest house, who would have helped too, and if there was a nearby shop or pub the customers would most likely have come out to help as well if they saw what was happening.
Z, Durham

Not long ago I was walking home, sober, along a busy street in my city when I was attacked and beaten unconscious by 4 youths totally unprovoked. I awoke 15 minutes later on the pavement and the best part of 100 cars had gone by without stopping. My jaw was almost broken, my mouth full of blood which I could have choked on, I suffered loss of memory yet had to make my own way home. Yet in Prague my friend was hit by a car whilst drunk and people from everywhere rushed to offer assistance though he was not badly hurt.
Mark Driscoll, Southampton

I've always tried to help somebody if they were in trouble. My partner has helped several people in violent situations as he is very public spirited. Sadly, a while ago when he was in need of help, these same people stood by and did nothing. I'm trying hard not to become cynical but it is very hard and I'm sure that eventually cynicism will win.

People are becoming very jaded, especially in cities where nobody bothers to get to know anyone else, and nobody cares about their fellow man. Bono has been harping on recently about giving more help to the starving in Africa. While I feel that this is a good thing, what hope do we have when we can't even help those in our own back yard.
Debbie, London

Kindness is its own reward
Sophie, Devon, UK
Kindness is its own reward. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. What goes round comes round. These are just some of the phrases that come to mind when thinking about a situation such as this. How anyone could drive past a human being lying in the street bleeding, is beyond me. There is no excuse. They could have at the very least stopped their car to block oncoming cars from the woman and called the authorities. Shame on those who did not help her.
Sophie, Devon, UK

I have come across similar situations in the past. Each time I did the same thing: call the emergency services but don't intervene any more. These things are best left to the experts.
Francisco, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

I have stopped and applied first aid on three occasions. The people I've helped have all expressed their gratitude. I'll continue to help too. On each occasion, though, there has usually been people standing around not knowing what to do and unwilling to help.
Graham, Dorset

I remember going to the aid of an elderly gentleman who was in an obviously confused state, and then collapsed in a traffic island. Another lady stayed with him while I went to get some police I had passed. All the time we had to shout over the traffic who roared past, in total disregard that there was a 'situation', and slowing down would be an obvious thing to do. This was in the centre of Northampton, a town I was glad to leave.
Andyc, UK

Those who even consider that the slim possibly of their car being stolen is sufficient to outweigh the need to help a fellow human being are, quite simply, pathetic. I'm a first aider so I most certainly would have stopped to help, but even if I hadn't had first aid training I couldn't just drive past someone who looked in need of help. If you feel your car is more important to you in this situation then you really need to reassess your life.
Duncan, UK

The Golden Rule -- our response should be determined by how we wish to be treated if we were in the lady's situation. Quit the excuses please. There must be a way between indifference and self-protection.
Michael, London England / Tokyo Japan

Michael, London. The "Golden Rule" is actually "do nothing that puts yourself of the casualty in any further danger". If someone has collapsed in the fast lane of a motorway (or countless other very hazardous situations) its better to leave them there than to have two casualties for the ambulance service to deal with. This is taught in the first 5 minutes of any first aid course.
Peter, Nottingham (U.K)

I think a lot of these comments say it all. We are selfish and scared. At least somebody could have called the Police or Ambulance. Everybody now has a mobile phone so it's really easy. I hope all the people who did nothing feel really ashamed. Stop giving excuses why you would do nothing, it could be you next.
Richard, Portsmouth UK

Sad yes but a reflection of society today when any good action usually results in accusation.
Martin, Hants
Sad yes but a reflection of society today when any good action usually results in accusation. Don't blame people, it's simply a symptom of a society based on fear, greed & paranoia.
Martin, Hants

What goes around comes around. May all those who callously passed this woman by someday be in a similar situation. They should then think back to this moment in time.
Brenda, Leeds, UK

I don't think I would have the right skills to help someone in need like that because I have no first aid training or anything. I would stop but probably not get out of the car and ring an ambulance.
Jackie Davie, Arbroath, Scotland

So many people on this site condemn those who don't stop to help people in the same situation as this woman - they can't seem to realise that these potential "Samaritans" fear for their own safety, and with good reason! The culprits in the whole scenario are the Government: for handing out pathetically lenient sentences to scum who prey on other people's kind nature, so that those genuinely in need of help (such as the woman in this story) are left abandoned.
Lynne C, Chudleigh, UK

Altruism is seldom rewarded. It wouldn't be altruism otherwise
Arun, Morgantown (USA
Altruism is seldom rewarded. It wouldn't be altruism otherwise. In countries like India everyone stops to help a suffering stranger. But in a western society where filing law-suits is as common as driving a car, it is not surprising that no one wants to stop and help. It is not a reflection of the morality of the society, but rather the lack of it.
Arun, Morgantown (USA)

It depends on the situation but I would probably not help physically. I would help by calling 911, though. I know the do unto others thing and I believe in it. I would want somebody to at least call for help if they do not want to help themselves.
Camron Johnson, NC, USA

The UK just has absolutely no unity anymore. As my grandpa say's, Britain just isn't the same country that it was in earlier times.
Joe, Canada

A recent article in the paper summed up today's society perfectly. A bus driver in London had been stabbed and said: "I staggered off the bus, blood was pouring from my stomach. There were people standing at the bus stop. I shouted to them that I had been stabbed but they did nothing. They just looked to see when the next bus was coming". But on the other hand, I have heard that in some countries, thieves pretend to faint and when you bend down to help them, aware of nothing but aiding the person, their associates immediately rob you of your valuables.
Louise, London, UK

What I find very odd is that when earlier in the year I came across an injured seagull in the street, there were plenty of people offering to help, including 4 people on hold to the RSPCA and 2 people calling their local vets. I couldn't stay, but took the number of a person who was with the bird, and later discovered she spent 2 hours waiting for the RSPCA to turn up (it was a Sunday). Why was so much assistance offered to an animal, and not a person? Maybe because Birds don't qualify for legal aid? I would like to say I would stop, and confident that I would do something, but who knows until it happens to you.
Iain, Poole, Dorset

It seems high time that society started shaming the litigious amongst us
John Lancashire, Reading, UK
Many of the comments on this page make very sad reading. To me it seems high time that society as a whole needs to start shaming the litigious amongst us. Bringing legal action against a 'Good Samaritan' should be as socially unacceptable as sexism or racism. If someone volunteers to help, at least they tried to do good. Most of the time their intervention will have a positive outcome, very occasionally not, but that's life. Nobody should have to fear the consequences of kindness. Our neighbourhoods will be all the nicer for it.
John Lancashire, Reading, UK

I don't care what anyone says, here was another human being in dire need of assistance and no-one could be bothered to do anything to help them. This is typical of modern society and it is, plainly, the wrong way to be. Those people should have been thinking whether they would have been happy if it was them in the gutter and needing help whilst others drove by and left them there. I think the inaction of those drivers was despicable. I can honestly say that if I had been there, I would definitely have helped that person.
Maurice, Birmingham, UK

Its disappointing that this even has to be discussed but not unduly surprising as the standards of morals, cooperation and respect in the UK seem to have almost completely evaporated. Those who drove by should be publicly shamed. All they had to do was stop to protect the individual and dial 999 - not too difficult!
Clive, Woking

Two thousand years ago the Samaritan was the third person to pass by, now it takes 12
John-Paul Hotham, Leeds
Society is definitely in decline. Two thousand years ago the Samaritan was the third person to pass by, now it takes 12 before someone stopped.
John-Paul Hotham, Leeds

Judging by the proximity of the double yellow lines they were probably worried that if they stopped their car would be clamped while they were trying to help.
Joseph Wilkinson, Whitehaven, Cumbria

I would stop for 100 apparently injured people 100 times. I would much rather risk getting hurt than abandoning a fellow human being who needs help.
Chris Johnson, Denver, USA

This episode is sad proof of the selfish society in which we live. A society that promotes, "private affluence and public squalor" led first and foremost by the self-serving, corrupt people that inhabit Westminster. We have all have got the politicians and the society we deserve due to our apathy and neglect of the political process.
Paul S Johnson, UK - Hampshire

The paramedic said I done the right thing especially as it was dark and in a quiet area
Nikki, Edinburgh
I drove past a man once lying on the side of the road. He looked a lot older than me and at the time I was only 20. I drove a bit away so I could still see him, called 999 then waited for the ambulance to arrive. The paramedic said I done the right thing especially as it was dark and in a quiet area. Maybe other people should do the same.
Nikki, Edinburgh

All it takes is a weapon or syringe on the "victim" to transform a simple offer of assistance into a fight for your own life. Is it worth it? Absolutely not. And before we judge the drivers who went by, do we know for a FACT that they didn't make an attempt to contact the emergency services at some point? Again, no.
Chris, Batley

I passed an accident today and would have stopped, however there was already several people there. A man had come off his motorbike and several drivers had already stopped to help him. They seemed to be doing all the right things - one had called the ambulance (which I passed moments later), they had covered him in a blanket to keep him warm, were making sure he wasn't moving, holding an umbrella over him to keep the rain off him, talking to him whilst a brave woman stood in the middle of the busy main road, directing traffic to keep him safe. Congratulations to all those people who stopped and helped.
Sue, Herts

I think in this case I would have stopped and called an ambulance. I don't think I would have tried to physically help her - other than stop her being run over - as other contributors say, for fear of being sued. Surely something can be done to stop the compensation culture we have adopted from the wonderful USA.
Ian, UK

We all got shouted at by the police when they arrived for getting involved
David, London, UK
Interesting that we use the expression 'Good Samaritan' without thinking about how the expression came about in the first place! 'Passing by on the other side' has been going on for over two thousand years.... Incidentally - some years ago I helped others drag people out of a burning car on the A14 in Cambridgeshire - it was a horrendous accident with fatalities as well - and we all got shouted at by the police when they arrived for getting involved...
David, London, UK

It's not as simple as "you must stop to help". As a man I have to consider appearances if I stop to tend to a woman, apparently unconscious, in the road. Moving her to safety (assuming injuries didn't prevent it) would require physical contact, which could be deemed to be "inappropriate". Ten years ago I did a First Aid course where we were told that sometimes it was necessary to loosen or remove clothing to administer first aid, but in today's climate of litigation and assuming the worst there is no way I would get involved if there was even a chance that this would be required. Otherwise I risk ending up in a situation where doing nothing leaves me open to accusations of failing to help, while loosening or removing clothing to help leaves me open to accusations of abuse. Unfortunately, once again, the actions of a few mean that the many will just walk on by.
Nige, England

London - lovely place, charming people.
Lee, Newcastle, England

Society has changed, in the past people helped each other and keep an eye on the elderly
Bill, Newcastle Upon Tyne
Society has changed, in the past people helped each other and keep an eye on the elderly. Now we ignore each other and in some cases we do not know our next door neighbour. We and the government must change our ways to the way it was. In helping a injured person, I would stop and help no matter what.
Bill, Newcastle Upon Tyne

Disgusting!. At the very least, someone could pull up to shield her from oncoming traffic, and make a call. Even if they didn't get out to investigate (if they were worried about their safety) they could sit in their locked car to phone for help or wait for other assistance.
Mark, Weston-super-Mare, UK

I'm a paramedic and this happens daily it's just this time it was caught on TV. Don't feel guilty I go to at least two people per day who are left unattended in the street. It's a reflection of our blame culture
John, North

I gave first aid to a (drunken) man who was hit at high speed by a bus. He had an obvious broken neck, severe head injuries and was bleeding very badly. I stopped him chocking on his own blood & kept him alive for 15 minutes until an ambulance took him to hospital, where he died the next day. Two days after that one of the policemen who attended the accident phoned to warn me that the victims family was trying to find my out my address as they wanted to sue me "for killing their father". I never heard anything more about it, but is it any wonder people walk away if that's all the thanks you get?
Peter, Nottingham

I think people have a moral duty to stop. How would they feel if it was one of their relatives lying in the gutter?
Craig, Preston, UK

It is a brutal indictment of our fear-driven culture
James, Cambridge, UK
I would love to think that everyone would stop and help anyone in distress. But two years ago, a friend of mine saw a child lying on the pavement in a similar manner. Whilst he was trying to establish if the kid was okay (it was) a woman basically accused him of molestation. Fortunately, she backed off in the end, but frankly, I don't think I'd bother to help now. You just invite suspicion. I can see why no-one got involved, but it is a brutal indictment of our fear-driven culture.
James, Cambridge, UK

I would stop, put my hazard lights on, and telephone for the emergency services. I'm not medically qualified, so how would I know what is the right thing to do? What if you move somebody whose neck is damaged? (Also, what if they've got a disease?)
Paul, Bracknell, UK

I once stopped for a man who was lying underneath his push-bike on the hard shoulder of a motorway!! I am a trained first aider and felt it was my duty. He appeared dazed. I asked him why he was on a bike on a motorway to which he started to give me this sob-story of how he had lost all his money and had to cycle to somewhere-or-other for work and that he hadn't eaten for 2 days and could I give him some money!! The whole thing was a ploy and I was trapped. In the case of the lady in Sidcup I would have called for an ambulance but not got involved.
Glen, Welling, UK

I fainted in the middle of a road... and dozens of people just walked past me
Claire Claridge, Poole, Dorset
About a year ago I fainted in the middle of a road in Bournemouth Town Centre. It was lunchtime, the road is always busy and dozens of people just walked past me staring. I had, in fact, torn a ligament in my ankle and struggled to get back on my feet before a car came round the corner. I was so shocked, not only because I had fainted in the middle of a road but mostly because not one person had stopped to help me to my feet. I had to actually phone my office to get a friend to help me! I was extremely upset about what had happened. People just don't get involved anymore and I think it's a terrible shame that people don't look out for each other and I would have definitely stopped to see I could help this poor woman. The people driving past should be ashamed of themselves!
Claire Claridge, Poole, Dorset

I am one of the fully trained First Aiders where I work and am covered by the Company's insurance if I have to treat one of my colleagues. I have taken, on advice from the St John Ambulance, who trained me, additional "Good Samaritan" insurance because there is a risk I might be sued if I help someone in the street. So yes, I would stop and help, but what an indictment on our society that I have to insure myself to do so.
Pamela, UK

I can agree with some of those people who would not be so willing to help if it was dark. I tried helping a guy just the other week who turned out to be very drunk and rather aggressive. Some people can't be helped. However, it's a crying shame when people are left in gutters to bleed to death during the middle of the day. Good Samaritans appear to be a dying breed.
Fraser Irving, Sheffield, UK

Bystander apathy has long been recognised as a phenomenon of human nature
Anon, Glasgow, UK
But before you condemn those drivers for not stopping, perhaps its best to remind those commenting here that Bystander apathy has long been recognised as a phenomenon of human nature. Anyone familiar with the brutal murder of Kitty Genovese in New York in 1964, where 40 people heard her screams and did not intervene, would know that psychologists have been trying to understand this very tragic and common reaction ever since. If one person comes across an incident, they are more likely to help. If more than one sees it (unless they are a group of friends together) they are each going to think that someone else will do something. Its a proven psychological reaction and no matter how shocking, its recognised and documented ever since 1964 and this young woman's tragic situation. Safety in numbers is not a reality.
Anon, Glasgow, UK

This has been difficult issue for a number of years, your immediate instinct is to help but you then have to look at the potential situation in isolation. It's not the person you are trying to help that the problem it's other people who arrive and see a portion of events.

Take a kid crying in the street without an obvious guardian near by. You go across to them to try and find out what is wrong, the guardian comes out of a nearby shop looks at the kid, looks at you and you get the blame for making the kid cry. You find yourself having to explain your concern for the child. From an on-lookers point of view it looks bad. So what do you do? Call the police and observe from a distance - I think people are uncomfortable with helping others because of the risks.
R Kerr, Galashiels

I have tried to help someone who looked as though they had passed out, and got nothing but abuse
Paul, Edinburgh, UK
I can see both sides of the coin here, I have tried to help someone who looked as though they had passed out, due to alcohol, and got nothing but abuse so I walked away, the next time an Elderly man fell from the kerb in his wheel chair, again I helped him up and when he was sat and ready to go I heard him shouting after me God bless and he was offering me money, which I politely refused. I have decided that if this happens again I will assess the situation first and if they are drunk then they will be ignored as my wellbeing comes first.
Paul, Edinburgh, UK

On the way home last night, I came across a man who had collapsed on the pavement. A woman was standing watching, she had already helped the man to his feet but had fallen again. I stopped and asked what had happened, and checked the guy over. He was drunk, and also had medical problems. I got his address, put him in the back of my car, drove him home, got him into his house and lay him on the couch in such away as he would not choke. He told me his wife should be home soon. I never once thought of car-jacking. By the way I'm also a first aider at work and am constantly amazed by the lack of understanding about simple first aid in the general public.
John Graham, Edinburgh, Scotland

Reading all the comments about carjacking in this discussion makes me sick: Look, I can see 4 cars in photo, are you telling me the one at the front couldn't have stopped (even blocking the road if need be!!!) and then getting the people in the cars behind to help (willingly or otherwise. Obscene is the only word for this incident.
David, Windsor

Of course one should stop and help if you can do so without recklessly endangering oneself. It is interesting to note that many of the contributors who are against stopping do not even have the guts to put their names forward but remain anon. Come on folks - shed the fear and do what is right.
Martyn Earley, Orkney, Scotland

It is a shame if altruism is dead
Andy, Cheshire, UK
I remember my cousin was travelling on a busy train when some youths held him at knife-point, just to take his watch and jacket. Nobody helped. Perhaps in this case, people were scared to intervene. I think it is a shame if altruism is dead and there are no good Samaritans left among us.
Andy, Cheshire, UK

The woman was very lucky that drivers took the trouble to drive around her and not over her. I witnessed a similar event in Lagos, Nigeria and the body was still there the next day. Flat as a pancake.
Kulu, Basingstoke

To be honest, I would not have stopped and offered any assistance under any circumstances. A few years ago whilst walking down the street I saw a man being hit by a car. Being a first aider I assisted and gave a statement to police. The man later died in hospital and his family then tried to sue me - saying that I had aggravated his head injuries! After this I was advised by our local St John Ambulance to NOT assist anyone in the street again.
Anon, London UK

I'd have called 999 and taken measures to prevent the woman being run over. That's the least I would have done.
JohnM, LyneMeads, UK

Someone clearly had stopped to help and the situation was being dealt with
Anthony M, Portsmouth, UK
Am I the only person to think that, since the 'shocking' CCTV footage was from the stopped bus, someone clearly had stopped to help and the situation was being dealt with. One can hardly blame these 12 drivers for passing by, when they saw someone else had stopped. If everyone passing an accident stopped to help, the roads would be at a standstill.
Anthony M, Portsmouth, UK

Being a First Aider my first reaction would be to call for 999 assistance even if I couldn't administer all the necessary treatment. After all, it is what I would expect if I was the casualty.
Hazel, UK

The authorities and police have been telling us for years that they will handle everything for us, and personal initiative (in police parlance, "taking the law into their own hands") is frowned upon, sometimes to the point of being a criminal offence. Why is anybody surprised at the result?
Alex Swanson, Milton Keynes, UK

My friend is a London fireman. He is the kind of guy to help someone in this kind of situation. Indeed, we came across this exact situation about 7 years ago. He rushed down the street to help an unconscious person lying on the pavement. He checked the airway, breathing and circulation, called the emergency services. Then the man woke up and took exception to this and attacked him.
Simon, Watford, England

If it was dark and/or I was driving on my own - I'm afraid not. I'd rather stop, lock my doors and call 999, making sure that my headlights were shining directly onto the victim. If it was light and someone was with me in the car - definitely. I wouldn't hesitate to stop. It's a horrible thing to have to think like this but I've heard too many dreadful stories about ambushes and car-jackings to think differently.
Sandra, NZ

The widespread fear of crime is twice as harmful as the crime itself
Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands
What's more worrying than the incident itself is the level of paranoia being displayed on these boards. The fact that people really do believe they are likely to be car-jacked is a perfect demonstration of how the widespread fear of crime is twice as harmful as the crime itself. Get a grip!
Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands (ex-UK)

Here in Finland the traffic law say that we must help in these kinds of situations! Yes, I would definitely help and have helped a couple of times when there has been an accident.
Tomas, Finland

I've twice been in a situation where I've been driving a (different) doctor friend and have come across a situation requiring First Aid. On both occasions the doctors really did not want to stop, as they said they were only used to working in a controlled environment with full resources to hand. On the first occasion we stopped and were able to help, on the second somebody else was already helping so we carried on. I was particularly surprised at my second friends reluctance to help - being a Specialist in Accident and Emergency!
Jamie, UK

Diffusion of responsibility is the belief that the presence of other people in a situation makes one less personally responsible for the events that occur in that situation. I'm sure every person that that drove by asked themselves should I stop, but they probably saw the bus pulled over about to help her. I'm not trying to defend these people but there is a psychological factor that tries to override our need to help in public places. If the bus was not there, I would hope that any one of the other drives would stop!
Ken Carlson, Eugene, OR, USA

I am truly appalled to see this. I don't understand how so many people can drive by without stopping to help the poor woman. I am not skilled in first aid or anything of the sort, but I certainly know how to use a cell phone.
Sammie, Calgary, Alberta

How soon after this woman was helped were the lawyers chasing her to make a claim?
Jamie, UK
In the US doctors and paramedics were refusing to attend and treat accident victims for fear of being sued if the patient didn't make a 100% recovery. Legislation had to be passed protecting people attempting to give First Aid. It looks like the UK is heading that way. How soon after this woman was helped were the lawyers chasing her to make a claim?
Jamie, UK

Oh come on, the woman looks like she had a few too many drinks and passed out on the road - I can completely understand anyone who drove around her as I would have done the same. If people want to help her then that's great, but don't put down the people who just didn't want to get involved.
Anon, UK

I stopped to help an alcoholic who had passed out in the street. He was covered in faeces and vomit. After establishing that he did not need medical help I helped him to his home a few hundred yards away. I couldn't walk past and ignore and I don't understand people that do. A sad reflection on society.
Richard Croud, Southend-on-sea, UK

This woman could quite easily have turned round and attacked or made accusations against the helper
Mabon, Haverhill
Those who did not stop for this person did the correct thing. Society has become too dangerous to take chances. This woman could quite easily have turned round and attacked or made accusations against the helper. In other situations this could have been a trap where the helper could be mugged. Rather than take chances the emergency services should be rung and these situations left to them.
Mabon, Haverhill

I am deeply distressed by this photo and the lack of help this poor lady received. We are so shocked, as a nation, about kidnappings, rape, genocides and other brutalities and yet when somebody is suffering on our door step we do nothing to help. We should spend less time worrying about the acquisition of material goods and more timing pondering our souls.
Rebecca, Ipswich, Suffolk

It is shocking and we are right to be shocked. However, before judgements are made about the state of UK society in general, we should remember that this was in south east London, a busy place and a case of diffused responsibility. Would people have been so callous in a less populated area? And yes, I would have stopped to help (I grew up in the country).
Sam, Yorkshire

The drivers should by tracked down via their registration numbers and publicly shamed
Steven Tron, Newton Aycliffe, Co Durham

If people don't feel part of a community, as with almost all urban areas; they find it hard to care
Darren, UK
This reminds me of an experiment I saw a few years ago; proving something I call 'Urbanitis'. An actor pretended to collapse in a village square, help arrived within moments; actor does the same thing in a busy city centre, people step over him for 15 minutes before someone calls the police. It was claimed, outside close-knit communities, that it's natural human nature apparently, rather than callous ignorance. If people don't feel part of a community, as with almost all urban areas; they find it hard to care.
Darren, UK

It brings an ironic smile to myself that people use this as some form of example of declining standards. The bible was complaining about such selfish behaviour in the parable of the Samaritan. Nothing changes. Those who complain seem to speak of everyone else but never include their attitude in with the society they describe. Charity, and positive behaviour begins at home.
Jeremy, Brighton

Oh, please spare us all these cheap whingeing on how worse our society has become, how self-centred we have become today, etc. Exactly the same things also happened 2,000 years ago (except for the CCTV bit), remember that story in the Gospel. So, our human behaviour is not worse now than it was in the past. Humans have always been fundamentally selfish by nature. And that's what made us so successful, in the end.
Rob Soria, Guildford, UK

The attitude of most passers-by was revulsion or disinterest
Jay, Lothian
This is not unusual. I tried to help a man who was having an epileptic fit outside a pub near Hammersmith tube station. He collapsed on the road outside a pub on the day of the Rugby League finals. Everyone assumed he was drunk, and only an off-duty policewoman gave me any assistance. When he recovered, we found out he was a teetotaller, a life-long epileptic, and he'd been at the neurology clinic that day. Fortunately, the policewoman phoned the paramedics. But the attitude of most passers-by was revulsion or disinterest.
Jay, Lothian

I live in Kent and I would not have stopped to help - particularly on the boarder of London. The pretence of an individual being injured is often used by 'car-jackers' to steal luxury cars. Remember: London is the city where a man was murdered for his Audi A3... I imagine that many drivers took the sensible course of advising the authorities when safe to do so.
Mark, Kent UK

Most definitely sadly in today's society most have forgotten common decency and love thy neighbour. The coldness and indifference to drive by and see someone obviously in a dangerous situation and not assist speaks volumes. The only way things will get better in this world is for us to look at each other without regard to race, circumstance or income level. Every living being on this planet is worth something.
Tracie Armendariz, Carlsbad NM

I dragged myself out to the middle of the road
James, Maidstone, Kent, UK
I'm not shocked as I've been on the receiving end of this. I was out jogging one night about 5-6 years ago and broke my leg. I managed to drag myself to the road and while still in the prone position I tried flagging down a car... then another one and another... nobody was stopping. I dragged myself out to the middle of the road (increasing risk of further injury) and again tried to stop a car, unbelievably some actually drove around me until I was in the middle of the road and someone stopped otherwise they would have had to run me over. Eventually an ambulance was called. Still... one driver who stopped out of about 20 isn't too bad I suppose......
James, Maidstone, Kent, UK

I'd be wary about stopping to help in case it was an ambush, but I would stop as soon as possible afterwards and dial 999.
Martin, England

I am not a trained first aider, so would not really know how to help her situation. However, I would not simply swerve past. I would stop my car, lock all the doors and call the emergency services.
Malcolm, Manchester

What have we come to?
Larry, Bedford, UK

The drivers that failed to stop and help should be named and shamed.
Low Jackson, London

My mum once stopped to help someone...
Anon, UK
My mum once stopped to help someone who was also lying at the side of the road... unfortunately, from behind a parked car the other half of the 'team' jumped in the open car door and drove away in the car that was still running. By the time my mum had watched someone drive away in her car turned back round, the young lad who was lying injured in the street was half way up the street going in the other direction and was never seen again (the car was though, burnt out on some wasteland!)
Anon, UK

I was shocked and horrified by the article shown about the motorists who drove past an injured woman. In most European countries there exists a law that states people who do not help others who are in danger can be convicted of this crime and sent to prison. The only way to prevent this awful situation from happening again is to introduce such a law here. This is surely of more importance than the current furore over fox hunting. P. Gardinal
P Gardinal, Charleroi, Belgium

This is the perfect example of "group-think." If you have a heart attack, you'll be more likely to be saved in there are just one or two people as opposed to fifty people surrounding you. There is a diffusion of responsibility. It's sad, but true. I would stop to help her, only because I would hope people would do the same for me.
Jennifer Cottingim, Vermillion, USA

Blame ambulance-chasing "no win no fee" lawyers out to make a fast buck
Anon, UK
Help an injured person? Of course not. It's far too risky. Why? Because we live in a society that loves to sue people under a smallest pretext. What guarantee was there that the victim wouldn't have sued whoever tried to help her for aggravating her injuries. Don't blame the people who drove past. Blame ambulance-chasing "no win no fee" lawyers out to make a fast buck.
Anon, UK

I was actually advised by the nurse not to walk back home on my own after visiting a surgery and feeling poorly. She said that if I fainted, no one would probably give me a hand, they would have thought that I was either drunk or on drugs. I know, it is a bit worrying to stop and actually help just in case the person becomes violent or one will be implicated afterwards but no one stops you to dial 999 and actually call for help.
Inga, England

Don't be too harsh on those passers by - at least they avoided finishing her off by skilfully swerving!
Sam Rhys James, Aberystwyth

It is very difficult to say what one would do until one actually sees the situation in real life. Unfortunately in this country one has to be alert to the dangers of scams and the consequences that could follow from a ruse.
Janet , Battle East Sussex

Is this a reflection of society today?
Val, Swindon, UK
Yes, I would help. But I am a trained first aider. I think that there are things that frighten untrained people. They are afraid of doing more damage. They are afraid of being sued if they try to help and then actually make matters worse. And I am afraid that a great many people don't actually care. Is this a reflection of society today?
Val, Swindon, UK

What a shocking scene and one that so clearly illustrates what has become of modern day Britain. The sense of community and decent behaviour that once binded together our island race has all but vanished. Instead our attitudes and civility to our common man has gone, gone for good. How sad.
Ed Hollinshead, UK

I was really upset when I saw this picture in the newspaper. How could people be so callous as to leave someone like this. I stopped once to help a homeless person who was having a fit and had to ask lots of people to call an ambulance before someone did. Lots of people told me not to touch the man. What does this sort of image say about our society?
Andrea, London

Definitely, but not without locking my car first and making sure my keys were safely buried in my pocket!
Gordon Jones, Fife, Scotland

As a first-aider I can understand that seeing an injured person can be very daunting and distressing
Amy, Berks
Anybody who drove past that poor woman should feel thoroughly ashamed of themselves. I am absolutely appalled that no-one stopped to help her. I certainly wouldn't hesitate for a second about going over. As a first-aider I can understand that seeing an injured person can be very daunting and distressing, but it certainly doesn't take much to pick up a phone and dial 999.
Amy, Berks

This just shows what a self-centred society we are becoming! Think about it, you might need help yourself someday!
Andrew, UK

Woman left injured in busy road
29 Sep 04  |  London


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