Monday, February 27, 2006
Police reveal how Bush can't wave and pedal at same time
By Arifa Akbar
The police report describes him as a "falling object" who lost control of his bicycle after trying to pedal and wave at the same time.
So ends the mystery of how President George Bush collided with a police officer while cycling at Gleneagles on the first day of the G8 summit last year.
Security was tight at the Perthshire resort on 6 July, amid fears that anti-globalisation protesters would try to storm the hotel where the leaders of the world's richest countries had gathered. Mr Bush was cycling in the grounds when he waved and shouted to a group of Strathclyde police officers: "Thanks, you guys, for coming." This triggered a serious case of wobbles and he ended up injuring a constable.
The police report, obtained by Scotland on Sunday, gives a blow by blow account of the lead-up to the accident. It reads: "[The unit] was requested to cover the road junction on the Auchterarder to Braco Road as the President of the USA, George Bush, was cycling through.
"At about 1800 hours the President approached the junction at speed on the bicycle. The road was damp at the time. As the President passed the junction at speed he raised his left arm from the handlebars to wave to the police officers present while shouting 'thanks, you guys, for coming'.
"As he did this he lost control of the cycle, falling to the ground, causing both himself and his bicycle to strike [the officer] on the lower legs. [The officer] fell to the ground, striking his head."
The report goes on to divulge how the President skidded five metres along the road, after knocking down the constable, who was off duty for 14 weeks after the accident.
It reads: "The President continued along the ground for approximately five metres, causing himself a number of abrasions. The officers ... then assisted both injured parties." The injured officer received a phone call of apology from President Bush while he was on his way to Perth Royal Infirmary, where he was treated for damage to his ankle ligaments and issued with a pair of crutches. The cause was officially recorded as: "Hit by moving/falling object."
The White House initially claimed that the policeman had recovered within hours of the prang.
The President's injuries - including scrapes to his hands - were by comparison, far less severe although his dignity may have suffered a dent. Afterwards, he shrugged off the incident, joking that he should start "acting my age".
The collision could have led to President Bush receiving a police fine and Strathclyde Police last year issued three fixed penalty notices as part of a crackdown on rogue cyclists.
While cycling may be one of Mr Bush's regular pastimes, this was not the first time he lost control on a bike. In 2004, he fell off his mountain bike on his ranch in Texas, suffering grazes on his face, knees and right hand. This latest incident follows in a series of embarrassing pratfalls by the President. In January 2002, he grazed his cheek after falling when he choked on a pretzel. Then in June 2003, he fell off his hi-tech Segway scooter.