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Working it out: The video that stopped me in my tracks





There is a recent video on YouTube that I have watched over and over again. The sense of shock and horror does not diminish with repeated viewings. No, it is not one of the pornographic beheadings. I have felt no need whatsoever to watch a human being come to an unspeakable end at the hands of a religious fanatic who would happily do the same to you or me, were we in his clutches. It is something much closer to home and maybe it should be more than an internet video. Perhaps it could be part of a TV advert. It certainly stopped me in my tracks.

In 2013, a 38-year-old biker was riding along a well-maintained two way road in Norfolk. He was very experienced, having ridden bikes since he was a teenager. That we know what happened is because he recorded much of his riding with a headcam, and the camera survived the crash.

The man was riding too fast. Of that there is no doubt. Police put his speed at 97 mph and that is touching 160kmh in the new language. From the video, we can see that this is a busy enough road. There is traffic going in both directions. It feels like a 50-60 mph carriageway. He flicks past three cars and then a further single one effortlessly on his powerful responsive Japanese machine. I know and love that feeling.

No sooner has he returned to the centre of his lane when we see, as he saw with horror, a car ahead making a right hand turn and coming across his lane. It was idiotic. The biker had no chance. The driver later said he did not see the bike, and he must not have seen the car that had just been overtaken either. He was prosecuted last April. There was fault on both sides. One person died.

When I began riding motorbikes again 10 or more years ago I was taken aside by a man who told me to remember one thing every time you get up on a bike - "Ride as if everyone out there was trying to kill you." It is not a bad mindset. Often, as I am cruising along, I think of those two Polish bikers in 2006 who were heading home after enjoying a rally in Kerry. Both were killed by a local drunk driver who lost control of the stolen BMW he was driving. They had no chance. He got five years.

I am inclined to believe that the graphic television advert campaigns based on real crashes did something to slow us all down. The dead biker's mother, a retired nurse, gave police permission to release the video from his camera. I urge everyone to watch it. Without doubt you will slow down for a while. My doing the ton days are well over.

Motorcyclists need to think, "as a car driver what might he do" she advises.

"He loved speed but he also loved life," she added.

Sunday Independent