A couple of weeks ago I was out leading a ride with my local IAM group, snaking up through the Essex countryside to the Krazy Horse custom bike shop and cafe in Bury St Edmunds. The morning had started wet, but gradually the sun come out and dried up the roads well. It was a cracking ride, we all had a spot of lunch at Krazy Horse and a lovely ride back to Ongar, before all going our separate ways home. It was as I was riding a few miles from home that I came across a scene that all bikers dread.
A few cars had come to a halt and in front I could see a biker was lying on the ground. Two people were already attending to the downed biker lying on the road. Immediately my heart sunk and the adrenaline began to rise. Thoughts from prior Biker Down courses I had attended flashed by and I found myself immediately pulling up close and jumping in to see if I could assist. First impressions were not good, the two with the biker were already giving CPR and he’d clearly lost a lot of blood. His helmet was still on, but dislodged, which appeared to be hindering his airway. I tried to recall the helmet removal procedure I had been shown, and grabbed a bystander to assist me supporting his neck as I prised the lid off. We were then able to clear his airway and try mouth to mouth resuscitation. However, it was very clear he had suffered a lot of head trauma and our efforts were not helping much.
Thankfully paramedics, emergency services and the air ambulance arrived very quickly to take over, but sadly there was nothing that they could do and the biker was declared dead at the scene shortly afterwards. RIP.
The mechanics of the incident are vague (and unfolded before I arrived), but after talking with witnesses, it appears as though the biker and an oncoming car clipped sending the biker down. However, a second oncoming was unable to avoid the biker and ran over him.
The whole event shook me up. It’s one of those scenes that as a biker you know in the back of your mind you could encounter, but hope you never will. Sadly, on this occasion the injuries sustained were so serious the odds were very much against us. I was thankful I had attended prior Biker Down and some first aid courses in the past, although nothing formal these gave me a rough idea of what I could do to help. Knowing I tried to do something, even if only a little, has helped with dealing with the incident mentally in the days following. I’m also thankful to the other two bystanders who attended the biker, who happened to be an off duty British Transport Police officer and Paramedic, definitely reassuring to count on their more extensive training.
I do hope none of you ever encounter such a scene, but just in case, please do, get yourself onto a Biker Down or basic First Aid course. The odds may not be great, but a little CPR knowledge might just make all the difference. Do also give your support to the Air Ambulance, a totally charity funded service that does life saving work and helps countless bikers.
Seasoned London commuter, doing my best to stay rubber side down and never stop moving forward.