Monday, August 14, 2006


I first saw them just outside The City - two bikers, southbound like ourselves, whizzing past the four-wheeled folk. Both with helmets; the second rider had a jacket, the first one just a leather waiscoat. I looked at their gloveless hands, jeans, runners - and their wheelies! - and shook my head in my best old-fogey style.

About three miles along the road, we met them again - this time, stationary. Biker No.1 - he of the bare arms with stylish leather waistcoat was lying in the road about 15 metres from his bike. Biker No. 2 had parked in front of him, and was standing beside him doing nothing in particular. Having called an ambulance as soon as we saw Biker 1 on his back in the road, we did our (amateur) best to assess his injuries.

These weren't nearly as bad as I expected. He was conscious, his limbs were all present and in approximately their usual configuration. However, he did have the following:

- A very deep abrasion on his left wrist, the blood from which had formed a crimson puddle about the size of a dinner plate on the tarmac below his hand, the fingers of which weren't nearly as pink as they should have been.

- A very large area of skin was missing from his left forearm. I think he'ld left it somewhere behind him on the road.

- A small but deep abrasion on his right elbow, with something clean and white showing at the bottom. Bone?

- A bloody mouth.

- Confusion: although conscious, he was apparently unaware of the extent of his injuries, he forcefully expressed the opinion that a visit to A&E would not be necessary, and that the (very promptly) arriving police were "all I f***ing need". I put this down to concussion.

In the end, there wasn't much we could do for him: we called the ambulance, positioned our car with hazard lights flashing so as to protect him from the traffic, and watched as an off-duty nurse bandaged the leakier wounds. Afterwards, watching his blood drying into my wife's blue jeans, I decided that getting a first aid kit and a warning triangle to keep in the boot would be a good idea.

Although I was glad that we gave what help we could, I could find only limited sympathy for this man and his injuries. Speeding, stunts, and very inadequate protective clothing? He didn't have an "accident" so much as an extremely fortunate escape (he was overtaking when he fell, and the car only just missed him).

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