The sad side of motorbikes.

I love motorbikes. I love the look of them, and the sound of them. I spent a lot of time riding pillion on my ex’s bike, and I even, for a year, owned my own bike and took lessons. The only thing that stopped me riding a bike was having mine stolen from outside my house. It upset me, and I didn’t bother replacing my bike or taking my test.

This afternoon I took a different route home from a local store, along a road I usually avoid because it has a nasty problem with parked cars. I came across a roadside shrine marking the spot where there had been an accident two weeks ago. I’d estimate that there are about 150 bouquets on the pavement.

Two weeks ago at this time of day, a young man was walking, talking, going about his normal life, enjoying his weekend. He had everything in front of him. He was a nice looking boy. He was aged twenty. By 8.30 in the evening everything was over, and his family were about to hear the news that nobody should ever have to hear, that their lovely boy, their Marcus, had died in a motorbike accident. Their hell was just beginning.

Meanwhile, a woman, aged 56, was beginning her own hell. She was the driver of the car involved in the accident, and she was charged with careless driving. I’m sure she isn’t a bad person. She made a mistake whilst driving her car. We all do it at some time, perhaps just make a split second decision to come out of a side road when perhaps it would have been safer to wait. I don’t know what happened in this case, I do know, though, that every time each of us gets behind the wheel, we are in danger of ending up in her position.

We’re all aware of the “Think Bike” campaign. Anyone who has ridden a bike will have their own tales to tell, of near misses when somebody didn’t “think bike”. We all will know of people who have been involved in accidents, which were often the fault of a car driver. I thank God that my own daughter is here to tell the tale after a car pulled out in front of her on a dual carriageway, causing her to swerve and lose control. I’m not sure the car driver  was even aware of the accident that he had caused….he didn’t stop.

Somewhere near here there is a family who is grieving, and there is a woman who is wishing that she could turn back the clock, and “think bike.” I feel for both the family of the boy who died, and for the woman involved in the accident.

Next time you get in your car, think of Marcus. If you’re getting on a bike, “think car.” Try to remember that when you were learning to ride, you were taught to ride defensively, to expect people in cars to do stupid things, and to leave room for them to do those things without involving you.

RIP Marcus.

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