Tuesday, 2 December 2003

Surprised it doesn't happen more often

A strange thing happened to me whilst walking to work yesterday. Well, happened to someone else really. Monday was another grey, wet, rainy kind of a day, like so many we've been having recently - not what I came back for. I walk to work through some of the quieter back streets, which, if you have been here, will know as narrow, straight and usually with high walls right up to the junctions, which makes seeing traffic around corners more tricky. So, I walked across a crossroads, brolly angled in front of me and as I crossed I saw a small van coming up the road from my right. As I got to the other side I momentarily raised my umbrella and saw a woman on a bicycle. She was head down, moving fast, umbrella held out in front of her. Before I could say anything she was past me. I did have time to think 'oh no' (very useful, I grant you) and turn to follow her progress.

You can guess what happened next.

Yup. Straight across the crossroads at exactly the moment the small van came up the road. It braked (broke?), so did she and try to swerve as well. Hit her square into her side and threw her and the bike into a wall.

Just to remind you, she was holding an umbrella so wasn't in full control of the bike and only had her hand on one brake lever. It was raining, which makes stopping even more difficult. And as far as I could tell, she didn't slow down or even look where she was going.

I don't feel particularly sorry for her, she was, in my opinion, acting with the utmost disregard for everyone involved. I feel sorry for the driver of the van, who luckily wasn't going too fast.

Him, and the woman's son, who was in the child's seat on the back of the bike....

But I am surprised it doesn't happen more often, the way Japanese seem to ride their bicycles. Seem to have a deathwish.

(PS They seemed OK. The were walking around afterwards and there were plenty of people on hand from a nearby building site to look after them.)

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