I recently watched Lawrence of Arabia for the first time and found it to be quite good, nothing mindblowing, but still really quite good. In case you didn’t know (and I’m probably one of the few who didn’t), it is based on the life of Col. T.E. Lawrence, an archaeologist who became a renowned, if controversial, British soldier during World War I. He played an especially important role in the Arab revolt, which is primarily the focus of the film. The movie delves into Lawrence’s psyche and reveals a cross between Indiana Jones and a slightly less insane Colonel Kurtz with a streak of extreme self-doubt thrown in at times. Like I said, it is very good.
As the beginning of the film reveals, Col. Lawrence died in a motorcycle accident. One of the surgeons treating Lawrence, Dr. Hugh Cairns, saw the colonel’s death as preventable and helped to develop and encourage the use of a safety helmet for motorcycle riders. Wikipedia has the details:
At age 46, a few weeks after leaving the service, Lawrence was fatally injured in a motorcycle accident while piloting a Brough Superior SS100 in Dorset, close to his cottage, Clouds Hill, near Wareham. The accident occurred because of a dip in the road that obstructed his view of two boys on their bicycles; he swerved to avoid them, lost control and was thrown over the handlebars of his motorcycle. He died six days later. The spot is marked by a small memorial at the side of the road but the road now is much improved on what it would have been like 70 years ago. The circumstances of Lawrence’s death would have far reaching consequences, however. One of the doctors attending him was the neurosurgeon, Hugh Cairns. He was profoundly affected by the incident and consequently began a long study of what he saw as the unnecessary loss of life by motorcycle dispatch riders through head injuries and his research led to the use of crash helmets by both military and civilian motorcyclists. As a consequence of treating Lawrence, Sir Hugh Cairns ultimately saved the lives of many motorcyclists since.
Motorcycle trivia via Kevin.