I saw, or half-saw, a very unpleasant road accident yesterday. I was walking back from the shops when, in front of me, on the other side of the road, a motorbike crashed into the side of a van. Although this was only about 60 yards ahead of me, I didn't see it that clearly, because it was dark, and I was walking along looking mostly at the pavement at the time.
I got a brief glimpse of the van turning into a driveway and the motorbike crashing quite fast into it. I had the sort of impression that the van crossed the road and turned into the driveway when maybe it shouldn't have, and also the bike might have been going too fast. But it was only a brief impression and I could be wrong. Anyway, there was a startlingly loud bang when it happened, much louder that you'd normally hear in a city traffic accident.
Although I was close, there were other people on the pavement in front of me, and by the time I got there, people were already phoning for an ambulance. Other cars had stopped too, and a crowd gathered immediately. The motorcyclist was lying beside his bike. I'm sure he was very badly injured; it had been such a violent smash and he went right into the side of the van. I did see his leg move so at least he wasn't dead.
I stood there uselessly for a little while. You think you should do something but there was nothing to do, really, but hope the ambulance arrived quickly. When I heard the siren in the distance I walked on, thinking that I wasn't helping anyone by standing there staring at it all. It was such an unpleasant incident. I arrived home feeling very sorry for the bike rider, and hoping he would be all right.
Motorbikes seem so dangerous, especially in cities, with cars turning all the time. As I said, I sort of had the impression the accident wasn't the motorbike's fault. But whoever's fault it was, the biker was severely injured, and the van driver wasn't hurt at all.
I had a motorbike accident when I was 18. It wasn't so bad, though I ended up in hospital. I still have scars on my knee, and a crooked finger, which didn't quite set right after it was broken. When I was 18, I thought it was a good idea to ride a motorbike. Nowadays, nothing would get me on one. It wouldn't surprise me if everyone knows someone who's had a motorbike accident, quite possibly a bad one.