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Witness - John C. Kirk

Jun. 8th, 2002

06:07 pm - Witness

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Well, despite this being a Saturday, I had to get up relatively early, to pick up my motorbike from the shop. (I'd taken it in for a crash damage estimate.) They estimated the repair bill at 2700 quid - ouch! Fortunately, I've spoken to the insurance company, and they'll pay it (minus 150 quid from me). Fully comp pays off :) I'm saving more money for this one claim than I pay all year in insurance... Mind you, they want me to go to one of their shops, rather than Motorcycle City, so it was a bit of a wasted trip (and 35 quid for the estimate). Still, live and learn...

On the way home (the bike more or less runs), there was a bit of an excitement - I witnessed a road traffic accident.

I'd stopped at a traffic light, when I heard a screeching of brakes coming from a different lane. I looked over, and saw a car stopped, with a van stopped just behind it. Then the big lorry that was behind the van crashed into the van, and the van crashed into the car, at which point the car's rear windscreen shattered into many pieces (mostly over the road), and the car was knocked forward about 3m - roughly its own length. I figured I ought to go and offer my services as a witness, so I turned off my engine. At this point, the lights turned green, and all the other cars sped off. I got a couple of honks on horns from people who didn't appreciate me parking there, but I figure that with all the other (potential) witnesses disappearing off into the distance, someone ought to stick around...

So, at the next convenient opportunity I went over to see what was what. This was a four-lane road, although it was getting a bit congested at this point. Numbering the lanes 1-4 (1 = far left, 4 = far right), I was parked on the left hand side of lane 1, so cars could get past, but they'd have to go slowly. Lane 2 was clear. Lane 3 had these three vehicles backed up, so the whole lane was blocked. Lane 4 had a guy who'd broken down - he'd had his head under the bonnet while the collision occurred, so he didn't see anything.

Anyway, I offered my services, and hung around. There was a dispute between the various drivers, about what colour the traffic light was. Both van/lorry drivers insisted that the car had stopped at a green light, whereas the car driver claimed that it was red. I know my light was red, but I didn't see the light on that side of the road. To be honest, I think the key issue here is stopping distance. Regardless of whether or not the car was right to stop there, the collision means that the lorry was too close to the van in front. Anyway, although the argument was slightly spirited, there was no violence or anything like that. The van driver also pointed out that there were no skid marks on the road, which suggests that the car rolled forward, i.e. the brake wasn't on - that sounds reasonable, so I'd go along with that.

Someone had called the police, so an officer turned up after a while. He started by asking whether anyone was injured - one of the guys in the van said he'd hurt his back, but it didn't look too serious. After that, he (policeman) basically said that he wasn't interested in the details of the case yet (since the various drivers were eagerly offering their own version of events), His primary concern was to minimise disruption, so another two units were on the way to set up blue lights around the area - in the meantime he wanted all of us to stay in that lane, not wander into the one remaining clear lane.

I identified myself as a witness, so we went back over to the side of the road for him to take down my details. That way, I could leave them to it. I pointed out my bike, so he made a note of the registration number, and my name/address/phone number. At this point, I was starting to feel rather guilty about the fact that I was riding around with my front/right indicator missing. I was only going a few miles, and I haven't been using the bike normally - just to get to the shop. Still, I suspect that it's illegal, so I was desperately hoping that he wouldn't notice! Mind you, the shop had taken off the remains of the old indicator, so there was just a flat patch on the side of the bike, rather than a dangling mess of metal/wires, i.e. less conspicuous. Anyway, he either didn't notice, or didn't comment (since I was helping him out). He said that one of their officers would call me to arrange a convenient time to meet, then they'll come round to the flat to take a statement. Hopefully that will be it, and I won't have to go back to court again, but I'll follow this through for as long as it takes - I figure it's civic duty.

After that, he said I could go, so I was just getting back on the bike when one of the guys from the car came over. He was asking for my details, and offering his. However, the police officer then came back and said that they (police) would co-ordinate everything, so he didn't need to talk to me directly. As I left, there was a police van just arriving from behind, presumably to set up the lights. A mile or so down the road I passed a police car that said "Accident response unit" (or similar) on the side, going in the opposite direction, so I guess that was heading for the same place.

This meant I was running a bit late for the ICSF buffet this afternoon, but I got there in time for the main presentation. It was a fun afternoon, and I wound up in Fogeys' Corner with people I don't see so much nowadays (e.g. Bob), which was good.

So, just two and a half hours left until Spider-Man...

Current Mood: excitedexcited
Current Music: "Lost without you" (allStars) - hmm, anyone noticing a pattern here?