Bike Crash

by on November 14, 2004

I fell off my motorbike last week going in to work. I’ve done it before: pottering along at about 30mph you come up behind some stationary traffic. If you then use the bus lane, you stay relatively safe but run the gauntlet of the cameras (I’ve had two fines for that in the last five years), so I usually try to squeeze down the outside against the oncoming traffic and risk it. And no, you can’t stay in lane and wait with the cars. On a motorbike that’s morally wrong.

This time the gamble didn’t pay off. For no apparent reason, a stationary car about five or six metres ahead of me in the traffic suddenly turned out to its right, and partially into my path, taking me by surprise. I thought it was a nutter doing those sudden u-turns (there was a break in the oncoming traffic at the time) so I slammed one the breaks. That’s when I realised the between-lane debris (where does that gravel come from?) was worse than I thought.

I fish-tailed and hit the road right knee first, skidding onto my shoulder. Front forks a bit twisted, but otherwise the bike was ridable, so I continued on my way. Falling off is a strange experience. Wearing a full-face helmet with the visor down, you are acutely aware of yourself shouting “Oooh shiiiiii….” before the sound of gravel, metal and plastic sound off around you. My right front brake light simply atomised, but I was OK. Boy was I glad of my Judge Dredd trousers. I wonder how fast I’d need to be going before the abrasion went through?

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