One of my downstairs neighbours called up to me asking had I seen the accident. I hadn’t
so I went down to join him at the landing window.
There were two ambulances at the junction, a small fiesta type car stopped across the
middle of the road and side on to the traffic, lots of cars stopped and one PCSO in a
hi vis vest directing traffic.
At least I thought it was a PCSO, it looked familiar but I couldn’t say why.
So I went outside for a better look.
The PCSO turned out to be one of my next door neighbours in her motorcycle gear
and not a PCSO. She called out hello to me so I went over to find out what was going
on. By the time I got there a third ambulance had arrived.
Taz, my motorbike riding neighbour had just arrived home to get changed before visiting
her family for the evening when she saw the crash. She had gone over to see if she could
A motor bike and a cyclist had been going from left to right and as the lights changed and
they set off the car somehow managed to get in the way coming from my road turning
right against a red light.
Now my road at the top where the accident happened is a T junction, the top of the T on
the left is the main North road into town and on the right is the road to the Motorway. At
the bottom of my road the T is the town centre one side and the main North West road
into town. So it’s busy most of the time.
The top of the T is dual carriageways as is my road. Going from left to right was blocked
by the crash. Going from right to left was blocked in the outer lane by the three a
mbulances which also stretched back blocking the right turn from my road. That was
where Taz was directing traffic.
Cars coming from the left were turning round, cars from the right were going past the
ambulances using the one lane not blocked and Taz was directing everyone trying to turn
right from my road into the left lane.
No Police in sight.
Then Tauntons’ Fire Engine arrived. Due to the cuts we now have one whole permanently
crewed fire engine and this was it. The crew checked the crash site. Quickly determined
that the ambulance crews had all three people in care and that there were no fires.
They pushed the car and bike off the road, picked up what looked like a car bumper
and the front mud guard from the motor bike and then sped off at speed.
I was told this morning that they were off to another incident.
I went back to the house to get Taz a proper Hi Viz coat, she was in leathers with just a Hi
Viz vest and waving at people to change lanes they could not see her arms in the darkness.
I kept her company while she directed traffic and had words about a few idiots who seemed
to think it was OK to drive right up to her before they moved lanes to the left.
The first Ambulance with the cyclist left at speed. The second Ambulance left after some
time and only one ambulance was left.
The police had arrived, well an unmarked traffic car with one officer had arrived and he was
talking to the car driver.
By this time we had been there a while and Taz was wondering when she could stop directing
traffic as her family were waiting for her. I offered to check with the police and take over the
arm waving if need be.
The police man was a motorway traffic officer. He had no idea how long things would take, the
last ambulance was still checking out the motorcyclist. He wanted to know why I was asking
and I explained that my neighbour was directing traffic.
He apologised that he couldn’t split himself in two. I asked him did he have any of those
cardboard cut out police, he half joked that they were all on the motorway bridges. After a bit
more banter I went back to Taz.
As it turned out the biker then got out of the ambulance at that point and the ambulance then
left while the officer interviewed the biker.
Taz got to go home and change at last.
The reason that I have detailed this story is that it highlights a few big problems to my mind.
Taunton is the county capital town of Somerset. 65,000 odd people. Friday night. A crash
involving a motorcar, motorbike and cyclist.
Tauntons one crewed fire engine responded, quickly cleaned up and left to another call.
Not a single patrol officer or town police man was available to respond. Not one single PCSO.
A major road junction blocked, multiple casualties, traffic backing up and weaving past the
crash. Ambulance crews parking their vehicles to protect them from the traffic rushing past on
the opposite side of the Dual carriageway.
All this and the police had to call in an unmarked motorway traffic car to respond.
Friday night, everyone trying to get home. A nearby club which emptied out as all the drinkers
came to watch before getting bored and going back inside.
Plus one lass called Taz and a fat bloke in a black Tee-Shirt who were the only people who
actually stopped to help. It was me in the Tee-Shirt in case you are wondering.
So is this the state of our emergency services now. A couple of nearby people, a fire engine
that cannot stay long because they have another call. A single officer stolen from the motorway
At least we still have ambulances with dedicated and well trained crews. That is a comfort, as
I cycle around town at least I know that when (not if but when) I am hit by some idiot driver
who thinks cyclists are something to be brushed aside not avoided the ambulance will be there
We are constantly told that costs must be cut. We are constantly told that money is tight and
that all services are being reduced. Half our fire crew have been cut, a thousand or more police
officers. All across the country it is the same. Emergency services slashed. Staff laid off. Less vehicles.
Yet we are also constantly told that the National Debt is still growing. That as a Nation we are still
borrowing vast amounts of money.
How is it that our debt under the Tories is growing almost as fast as under Labour but we have
made such savage cuts to services. Quantum Physics I can do, Government accounting confused the
heck out of me.
No one died last night but it cannot be long before someone does die because there is no one to
respond. I can only hope that it is not me left to die under the wheels of a car because the few
remaining emergency services are too busy to respond.