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Learning the hard way

BMJ 2000; 321 doi: (Published 15 July 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;321:185
  1. Bruce Finlayson, consultant in accident and emergency medicine
  1. Norwich

    I have been a keen motorcyclist for as long as I can remember. I passed my motorcycle test at the first attempt at the age of 17. I believe I am a very safe rider (don't we all?), and I ride defensively. Until this event I had never been in a situation that caused me alarm, nor had I been even close to an accident.

    I was negotiating a roundabout close to a United States air base and saw a huge American left hand drive four wheel vehicle with Mafia-style tinted windows waiting to enter the traffic. I had almost made it to my exit, when the driver pulled out sharply. Everything went into slow motion as the inevitable collision occurred. I saw the kerb and the road coming to meet me, and struck my helmet as I landed. I felt the left side of my chest hit the road and the kerb as I slid along, still astride the machine. I felt so helpless, but can clearly remember thinking as I came to a halt that I could still …

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