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25th July 2018 MOTORCYCLE ALERT

LAS Attack

The following account was recently written by a London Ambulance Service paramedic who was attacked on her way home from one of our training session and she would like us to share this as a warning to other motorcyclists…

I was riding home from Bromley Training Centre after doing my CSR (Clinical Skills Refresher) about Conflict Resolution when I realised I was being followed by a group of bikes. I saw them some way off in my mirrors whilst filtering along a long and slow moving line of cars. I was checking the bikes out in my mirror and as they got neared I realised that they looked odd. Nearer still it was apparent they were wearing balaclavas and not helmets. I am so glad I had been doing that conflict resolution update as I was immediately on my guard and assessing them.

I was then able to see that there were 3 scooters, so I knew things were not good. They managed to rush up beside me and attempt to box me in against the slow moving cars and then one moved in front of me, one behind and the 3rd pressed up against my right side. At this point things happened really quickly; the rider used his left arm to strike my right arm and try and smash it of my handlebar grip whilst simultaneously hitting my engine stop switch. I lost all power from my engine but managed not to let go of my handlebar. I was taken aback at how things were going but as I race bikes I am used to close contact and sudden engine problems, so I did a couple of things that probably saved me and put them off. I immediately pulled in my clutch lever so I didn’t loose to much speed (had I not done so my bike would have come to a stop rapidly and then they would have been on me like a pack of jackals), and quickly reset my engine stop switch to run whilst hitting the starter switch to get my engine running again. As soon as my engine was going I lunged at the scooter rider next to me and tried to kick him with my leg causing him to swerve out of the way, then I took the gap and accelerated away like a scalded cat. As my bike is a 650cc it was easy for me to pull away once I was in front of them. I then rode like an idiot between the lines of cars and made a late lung down a side road trying to lose them. After frequent checks in my mirrors I didn’t see them again. Because I was so paranoid I rode for a few more miles down random roads before heading home to call the Police.

It was a really frightening situation all happening at about 40 mph, with moving cars stacked up along my left hand side. I think 2 things saved me from injury and having my bike stolen with all my kit inside my top box including my Ipad, NHS passes, wallet etc:

1) I am quite vigilant with my mirrors when riding so I gained several seconds to process the threat and that something might happen

2) Having just done the conflict resolution module I was feeling much more confident that I could make a difference to the outcome. I felt under clear threat of serious injury and knew that it was reasonable to use proportional force against them, so I had no hesitation in trying to kick them off their scooters regardless of the fact that they were only wearing balaclavas.

I had a lucky outcome, and the Police are treating it as an attempted robbery although there is no real likelihood of apprehending the assailants. I am now obviously very weary and worried about another attack and feel that I need to think of other ways to protect myself. What if it had happened in a more central area, it would have been much harder to ride away from them.