Truck Factor

This post is very long and contains profanity, I try not to use it but I really need to get this off my chest, you have been warned.

For those not in there know the phrase ‘Truck Factor’ usually relates to how much of a problem would it be if an employee got hit by a truck and was unable to come to work for a few months. A ‘Truck Factor’ of 10 would mean that a certain person knows all there is about a system and nobody else knows anything for instance. That is unless your me over the past two weeks, bear with me on this, there is a tenuous link.

I have been off my Motorbike over the past 2-3 weeks because of a threat of ice and snow. Being a learner driver I didn’t want to risk it. I probably would of been fine but my mind told me it’s better to be safe than sorry. I didn’t appreciate having to get up earlier and deal with public transport but I did it in the aim to be safer. It was a weird week beginning on Jan 19th where on the Wednesday (21-01-2015) I was tasked to do a job I knew very little about. I remember various conversations with my colleague where he told me that I should be very careful touching this bit of the system I was working on, sadly it was his day off so I could only ask people who also had very little idea about what I was doing. So we were at this point in time at Truck Factor 8 or 9 but being the awesome contractor I am I managed to piece together something and submitted it for review.

Thursday (22nd) came and I woke up for work late, there was not much I could do about it, the roads were not icey, a little moist and it was a little misty but visibility was generally good so I decided it was time to uncover the motorbike and jump on but I didn’t quite make it out of Oxford. Cruising down the Woodstock Road I approached the big scary roundabout and took a lot of precaution about pulling into traffic on it. From behind me I heard something go crunch, Jessica (my bike) lurched forward throwing me off it and onto the tarmac. Not feeling any major pain I pick myself up and find out what the hell has happened to find a white removals van sitting also at the lights having just crashed into the back of me. This gave Truck Factor a whole new meaning. The driver had jumped out of the cab to check I was okay, still in a bit of daze I was not sure but I was walking, upright and flowing with adrenaline. After a definite confirmation that I was okay we picked the bike up and managed to move the bike onto the grass verge where I was greeted by a cyclist telling me that he had seen the whole thing and was willing to be a witness if necessary. The driver of the van parked and then got out again to start the process of exchanging details, all the time checking I was okay. In all honesty I was okay and semi-thankful for it, I called work to tell them what had happened and then dealt with the situation at hand. The police stopped by the road (nobody had called them) to check everything was okay and if they needed to get involved. They really didn’t need to get involved, the driver of the van was being very co-operative, apologetic, humble and genuinely a nice guy apart from the fact that he just put a massive dent in my rear fender, so much so that it stopped the rear wheel from moving.

After some time passed they put my damaged bike into the back of their van to take back to the flat and me into their bosses car to get home. Back at the flat we parked the bike, I made myself a strong cup of tea with a some honey in it, ate 2 hot cross buns and then started proceedings with the insurance company. Major bits of insurance done I had arranged with the company that because I was putting through a third party claim that I was entitled to a courtesy bike while mine was being assessed and repaired. Anybody might think that after such an ordeal the last thing I would want is to get back on a Motorbike but I may be mega stubborn on this and when it has made my journey to work just so much easier I have become to rely on it a little, The insurance company had arranged to pick up the bike on Monday so that means it would have to sit in the parking spot for 4 days and this is where my story goes from bad to worse,

Since I took the rest of Thursday off I went in on Friday and was thankful that it was the end of already a strange and stressful week. At the end of Friday I went to my counselling session, walked home, got showered, changed and headed straight back out to meet someone for a few drinks. To be honest I was thankful of the distraction and chatted away most of the night about all sorts of things including my recent motorbike spill. The evening ended around 2am when the pub finally kicked us out and again I walked home, slightly merry but enjoying the slight buzz from alcohol. Back at the flat I saw my bike still in the same spot and then took myself inside and into bed. Drunk sleep is always quite erratic for me and I woke up around 9:30 in need of some water. Staggered downstairs to the kitchen, got my water and had a quick look out the window to check my bike. Yep you guessed it… gone.

First thought was “Where the fuck is my bike?”. My brain was still a little hazy from alcohol and lack of sleep but I somehow followed a very logical process. Back upstairs I called the insurance company to double check they had not taken it. From there I thought maybe the police saw it, thought it was abandoned and picked it up so I called them, nope but they did take down details just incase. The final people I tried to call was the council to see if their parking enforcement people had taken it, of course being the weekend they were not available to call so I had to wait until Monday. This is where I found a nice pillow and screamed into it until I was slightly horse. I knew in the back of my mind that I had been slightly stupid about the state of my bike, I had not chained it, I had not covered it and again knew that anyone looking for something to steal would see it as an opportunity.

Monday came around after a very restless and depressed weekend knowing that the bike had been stolen but I held some hope once again trying to call the council on Monday. Trying to chase something like this and work at the same time is an incredibly difficult thing to do. By the end of Monday (26-01-2015) I had managed to get a direct number and leave a message for the right department after leaving several others. All I wanted to know was did they have it? I could not really report it stolen until I knew for sure. Tuesday morning and I got a call from the department I had left a message with confirming that they had not taken the bike so there was nothing left to do but report it stolen. The police arranged with me to be visited by them in the evening so there was nothing more I could really do until I had a crime number for the insurance people. I got home at my usual time and prepared everything I could in preparation for the visit from the police. Approx 19:15 and I got a call from a number I didn’t recognise, it was a PCSO (Police Community Support Officer) who asked me about my bike and then tells me that he thinks he has found it not 10 minutes from where I live and can I come and identify it.

Phew… at least it’s been found I bet your thinking? Even if it’s a bad state this may speed up the insurance process. Well yes, in theory that’s probably true and I told myself that as soon as they tell me if they are going to write the bike off or not I would just go out and buy another one. I met the officers near a batch of new builds where they warned me to be careful because the shed where the bike had been abandoned had both blood and human faeces in, “Oh great, that’s just what I need”. The bike was indeed mine and didn”t look like it had much more damage than it has sustained in the initial accident. I handed over the keys, details of the bike, the theft and everything that the Police needed.

We pick the story up 2 days later (29-01-2015) when the insurance people call me and tell me what I already know that the 3rd party claim can no longer go through and they had started a whole new claim but I should keep all the old details just incase and because now I am claiming on a theft I am no longer entitled to a courtesy bike. I no longer really cared use wanted do end this whole saga knowing that it is going to drag on for another few weeks while the police take prints and so on.

So we reach today 09-02-2015, I am none the wiser if the insurance people will write the bike off or not (basically down to it’s age and custom nature). The police have released it and I have had to send lots of official documentation off to the insurance company in order to keep the ball rolling as much as I can. Hindsight is a pain in the fucking arse at times and there is a lot that I can take away from this. The following lessons have been learned.

  • No matter how safe you think a place is nor how damaged something is if you want to hang onto it make sure it’s secure.
  • If you have an accident and it’s not your fault remember to take photos of any damage as soon as you can, they may be useful as evidence or just as a record of what damage was done.
  • If you can take a photo of the scene then do so, also of the people involved it will help with your memory recall
  • Accept that no matter how much you hate it with insurance you are probably going to have to do a lot of re-explaining so write shit down, dates, times, people, names, what you remember about the accident etc. Use this like a script to refer to if ever you are unclear

I’ll update when I know more
– Chris

2 thoughts on “Truck Factor

  1. This is Nakatani I met you at Hotani Japan, do you remember me?
    I have read your blog after a long interval.
    I may not catch your situation absolutely as my English is insufficient.
    That was difficult.
    I also have a motorbike, so we should be careful.

  2. Nakatani san,

    Of course I remember you, thank you for reading, I hope you are well. I hope one day to come back to Japan, maybe even on a motorbike.

    もちろん、私はあなたを覚えている, お読みいただきありがとうございました, あなたが元気でありますように.

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