A tale of three crashes

Time/Date: A dark winter's evening on an 'A' road

A queue of cars has developed behind a vehicle waiting for a gap in the oncoming traffic to turn right into an unmarked entrance on the offside. A 17 year old rider on a 50 cc race replica comes across this around a long left hand bend. He continues towards the back of the queue, and unfortunately as the rearmost vehicle is stationary, it's no longer showing any brake lights. Realising at the last moment that the car is stationary, the rider swerves to the right, and clips the rear of the car with his left leg. This is enough to unbalance him, and he falls to the ground, and slides straight into the oncoming traffic, into the path of a 3 series BMW. The driver of this is unable to take any avoiding action, and so the vehicle runs over the rider, fatally injuring him.

The bike had been modified, in that a restrictor had been taken out of the exhaust to liberate the full power of the engine. A lot of comment arose from this, my view is that he had done what any red blooded 17 year old would do, and besides he was doing less than 30 mph when it all happened.

Moral of the story?

Always look as far ahead as possible, and pay attention to movement of traffic, or in this case lack of movement. Try to leave enough room so that you can brake or take avoiding action regardless of what develops.

Time/Date: 1600 hrs Saturday early summer

Circumstances: Our man is riding his Kawasaki ZX10 travelling on his own out for a blast. It's a reasonably busy road but one of those nicely upgraded "A" roads, wide with an ace surface. The road leads between two large towns and he is half distance between the two. He thinks he is doing well. Witnesses describe numerous overtakes all done in a rather flamboyant and swoopy style.

Whilst thinking about the next one he is overtaken by 5 sports bikes all travelling very quickly. He recovers his composure and sets off in hot pursuit. The 5 in front are capable riders riding as they normally do. Our man is completely out of his depth but insists on trying to stay in touch. On the final half mile before the speed limit, he starts an overtake and almost immediately changes his mind. Panic sets in, on come the brakes including locking the rear up. The layout of the road is a gentle left-hander this results in him crossing the road, right up to the offside kerb where he has one of the biggest head on crashes between a car and a bike I have seen.

Result: He is killed instantly and both occupants of the car are seriously injured.

Moral of the story?

a) To quote a Clint Eastwood line "Every man should know his limitations" Being forced to ride at a speed that you are not comfortable at is the best recipe for disaster. However good you are, however well trained there is always some one faster or more prepared to die than you. Competition of the road is just bad news. Go racing or get a track day. Don't get dragged into situations like this, easy to say with nothing in your mirrors!

b) If the first time you need to apply emergency braking is in an emergency then you will get it wrong, practice makes perfect.