I heard the ‘thwaaack‘ before I saw the aftermath.
The next thing I know there’s a woman lying in the middle of the road. At first I thought she was a cyclist, so I looked for the mangled wreck of the bike. But there was no bike to be seen: she was a pedestrian.
My brain couldn’t quite compute what was going on. There was a bus stopped in the road having just pulled out of a bus stop, another female cyclist alongside the bus in the next lane, and I was two or three cars behind this scene on my own bike, cycling home after a long day at work.
By the time I had registered that this was quite a serious accident and that there was likely to be brains all over the road (honestly, the sound of her head hitting the bitumen was sickening), the woman had got to her feet. There was a dazed look on her face as she rubbed the back of her head, mouthing the word ‘ouch’, a straw shopping bag clutched in one hand. If it wasn’t so serious it would have been laugh-out-loud funny.
As I got closer to the back of the bus, I got a closer look at the accident scene. The pedestrian had been hit by an oncoming car, a navy blue BMW convertible. The driver, a suntanned man with a shock of blonde hair, was now comforting the woman in the middle of the road, checking to see if she was OK.
I wasn’t sure what to do. Should I stop and offer assistance? I wasn’t a witness. I didn’t see the actual impact, just the aftermath. But I couldn’t help but feel that I should do something.
A couple of other oncoming cars stopped to help, mainly because the accident had caused a bit of a tailback in the opposite direction. The bus driver had also stopped.
I can’t be sure exactly how the accident happened, but I figured that the pedestrian had walked in front of the bus, which had pulled up at the bus stop, to cross the dual carriageway. As she stepped out into the road she got startled by the female cyclist coming up on the outside of the bus at great speed. The pedestrian then jumped out of the way into the path of an oncoming car.
While I can’t be 100% certain, I suspect that the cyclist was very much involved in the accident. Certainly, as I approached the scene, that is what it looked like, because the cyclist had stopped suddenly, very close to the car and the woman at about the same time that I heard the sickening ‘thwaaack‘. (I should probably point out that this same cyclist had overtaken me about 500m earlier at such great speed that it had given me a bit of a fright, because I had not heard her approach.)
Now, if I was the cyclist in question, I would most definitely stop and offer assistance. I’d put my bike down and I would exchange contact details with the various parties just in case they might need a witness.
What did this cyclist do? She stopped momentarily, saw that the woman was back on her feet and then rode off as if nothing had happened.
I was somewhat mortified, especially as I was feeling guilty that I couldn’t help in any real way. I just hope that that cyclist never ever gets hit by a car and has to rely on bystanders to come to her assistance…