A ‘near miss’ is an ‘actual collision’! I haven’t ridden a bike for many years (I know, I know) but on the premise that it’s better late than never…. I say incidents because neither of these were “accidents”. The motorists were to blame. I insist. Incident 1. I was riding at Toowong, more or less opposite the Toowong Shopping Centre and just past a service station. You may know the place… assuming it’s still there. Anyway I was progressing happily enough - there was little traffic around me and all seemed right with the world. Of course I neglected to read the mind of the driver of an oncoming Suzuki Sierra. How careless of me. She had obviously decided she needed fuel, and presumably she decided quite quickly because – without indicating (need it be said) she turned her wheel to the right. The Suzuki went across the double lines and drove into the service station driveway. Or it would have done, had I not been in the way. CRUNCH ! Ouch. Bike down and sliding. I lost some bark but was mostly bruised and sore. And did I mention bruised? I was bruised. A lot. Though that wasn’t really evident until the following day. So there I was lying on the road feeling sorry for myself, and meanwhile this girl is being comforted by her passenger, yet giggling and saying “this is the first accident I’ve been in”. “Hmm”, I thought, “you’ll be in another one in a minute”. Or did I say it out loud. I can’t be sure. Anyway I was reasonably lucky to get away with that one without any more serious injuries. Incident 2 I had quite a few happy and trouble free years of riding following the above, but of course all good things must come to an end – or so they say. I used to live in Tooth Avenue at Paddington. Those of you who know it will remember that at the top end the road is quite narrow and with parked cars is often really just one lane wide so extra care is needed to avoid “sharing” the same piece of road with another vehicle. I was ‘proceeding with care’’ down the road, when out of nowhere (well, out of the lower end of the street technically) and at high-speed came a Mitsubishi Pajero. It shortly occupied the same piece of road as my motorbike, and I in turn occupied, briefly, the front guard and bonnet of the Pajero, before coming off the car and crashing to the bitumen. The car did not stop. At all. As far as I can tell it didn’t even slow down. Adrenaline was coursing through my veins, and as this gradually subsided I became aware that I was in a lot of pain. I was also very pissed off – not only at the prick who’d run me over, not only at the fact my bike was cactus, but also at the fact that I had a broken left collarbone – and broken real good too! Who would have thought you could get THAT angle going. Anyway I managed to pick myself up off the road and look around. It was a very quiet morning and there was nobody about aside from a bloke walking his dog, who claimed not to have seen anything. (I’m pretty sure he was at least half-cut). I went to the nearest house and knocked on the door. Shortly the door was answered by a woman, to whom I explained my predicament and asked her to call an ambulance. Her response? “I don’t want to get involved”, and closed the door in my face. Well after the hit and run, plus the callousness of this person I pretty much lost faith in any positive aspect of human nature. I crumpled, dejected to sit on her doorstep and wonder what the hell I would do next. I half expected the cranky biatch to call the cops to have me removed from her front step. Why did I not call the police? Well, for you youngsters reading this – we didn’t have mobile phones in those days. (And before you even THINK it – NO my motorbike didn’t run on steam). Anyway I was there on the front step when the door opened again. I thought she might have had a change of heart but in fact there were two blokes in singlets etc who were there painting her house. They told me that she’d mentioned what had happened and they said they’d give me a lift to the hospital in their ute (no, not in the back luckily) and that “the old biatch can wait”. I think an ambulance would have been a better option but beggars can’t be choosers. They pulled my bike onto the footpath and took me to the hospital. The hospital kept me in for observation for a while – they were concerned that pissing blood wasn’t normal and hey they’re the doctors… I did make a police report of course and they asked whether I’d got the number plate. No, I told them, I was far too busy somersaulting the bonnet in an attempt to qualify for the Olympics. Well, I actually said something else, but that’s what I meant. They did track down the dog guy – who was completely useless. They didn’t track down the driver or the car. On the up side – I’m still breathing and can write about it now with a smile on my face. I’m not sure why my wife doesn’t want me to get another bike…. Be careful out there !