Serving as a police officer for 30yrs, you may well imagine that I have dealt with just a few junction crashes and ‘T’ bones! Being a rider for longer, I have seen a few happen and constantly concerned myself with the consequences.
To begin with I didn’t treat junctions with the respect they deserve. Of course being a cop I didn’t always concern myself with why people had so many incidents involving junctions. My priority was to sort it out and bring the culprit to justice. As time went on being part of the Family Liaison Officer Investigation Team and BikeSafe education I found I was discovering the reasons why we need to avoid such a crash and how.
You know, it is easy to establish blame in many cases and the ‘Smidsy’ has been very much treated as an explanation for what we think is an easily avoidable activity.
Do I make mistakes?
Have you ever found yourself confronted by a sudden appearance of a motorist previously nowhere to be seen? The perfect human specimen has not been made (honest Mum!) and human beings may be at the top of the animal kingdom but we are still subject to the inadequacy of multitasking, defence mechanisms and reaction times. Make it a little harder by placing some roadside furniture, big pillars around the windows of your car and lack of concentration to say the least. Oh yes; and maybe on occasion inappropriate approach speed and you have the recipe for disaster.
No body is suggesting that you can avoid everything but there is an awful lot more we can do and consider.
As an examiner for certain advanced driving and riding organisations it never ceases to concern me that the level of observation of the ordinary road user is abysmal. If they do take the effort to see a sign or information regarding an increased hazard such as a junction, the appropriate action is rarely taken. All of which is common sense.
We have devised a system based on common sense and this is discussed at our workshops. Of course you can help yourself to be seen, lights, bright clothing, movement and that button rarely used – the horn! No harm in slowing down just that little bit either. Sorry not trying to be patronising just remember what my instructor was shouting at me years ago!!
We will in the meantime try to educate drivers and a lot is done ‘Think once, think twice, think bike’ etc but just in case they don’t take charge of the situation, we need to.
The reasons for why such accidents take place can be complex but one thing is crystal clear – whatever the reason, in the event of a crash it is the motorcyclist who will potentially be spending some time reading MCN in an orthopaedic hospital bed (other motorcycling publications exist and are available from retail outlets obviously).
Paul Cheshire – North Wales BikeSafe