Life in Chiang Mai
Racing home to beat the rain
By Heather Allen
I went out tonight on my little motorbike and thought to race home
and beat the big black clouds that covered the horizon. As I sped along I
reflected back on the two young Varee School teenagers that were killed on
their motorbike as they waited at the stop light and thought, does it really
matter if I get a little wet? I slowed down.
In a town filled with people on motorbikes well know the risks we take
riding around on one. Many car drivers don’t seem to see the bikes on the
road and drive as if there was no one there. But of course, someone is
there. A good friend of mine was struck by a truck as she drove down the
road, he was pulling out into the road and didn’t bother to look that a
motorbike was there. She broke her collarbone. She was lucky, the driver was
a decent, responsible person who took her to the hospital, repaired her bike
and paid her hospital bills. The teenagers who were killed near Central
Airport were not so lucky, the person who hit them drove off and left them
lying in the road. Every motorbike driver’s worst nightmare and a not
uncommon occurrence in Thailand.
Another friend of mine was struck from behind, as were the teens, his
motorbike flew off into a nearby field and the woman who hit him left him
there. Luckily some kind Thai people passing by saw the accident and
stopped, ran out into the field and got him to a hospital. The woman showed
up the next day, my friend said she had called around to hospitals to see if
a foreigner had died, when she discovered he was not dead, she showed up to
pay the hospital bills.
Other friends have had accidents, and some not so minor, from unseen
potholes, sand on the road and aggressive songthaew drivers. We all face the
fear of accidents but it is true that the convenience of a motorbike makes
it almost irresistible sometimes. I can always find a place to park; I am
never stuck in traffic as I can go up the side of the road down the middle.
I must say, however, that I personally have never driven on the pavements
but it is tempting sometimes.
I will continue to drive my little motorbike in spite of my friends’
accidents and in spite of the high accident rate that bike riders face, but
I must admit, I feel like I have won the lottery every time I make it home
in one piece.
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