Feb 23, 2006

Crash investigation

So, the pain has been subdued by the marvels of modern medicine. Time to relive it, then. It happened in a one-way street in Bandra. The road is arrow straight with about eight small intersections. Houses on both sides have excreted excess cars onto the street. That’s one clear hazard. The morning sun does not allow you to look into the cars, so you cannot prepare for a door that is about to open in my way.

But today, that’s the least of my worries. Having slowed for an intersection, I’m back on the throttle, upto third gear when a white Tata Indigo begins to honk behind me. Noticing the school gate on the left, I move over to the right to let the bugger overtake. I check the mirrors to see if there’s other people passing me as well…

I look up and scream silently at the bicyclists, obviously unsighted by the car, flits from the left edge to the right. As my fingers curl tighter on the brake lever, I wait for him to finish the traverse. But he isn’t going across at all. He straightens out just feet from my screeching front wheel.

From this point, it’s set. This is going to be a contact sport. I have one momentary choice. I could leap clear and let a 150 kg motorcycle, going 35 kph handle the business. Much as I hate the unknown cyclist, it’s too much punishment for the oblivious sod. Oh yes, he still hasn’t zeroed in on the screeching blue streak that’s catching up with him.

Course set, rear wheel at threshold of lock up, front wheel leaving a light grey skid mark, I stem into his rear wheel. Touchdown!

We’re down, him and I. I feel the bike’s grips reject my gloved hands, but we’ve almost stopped moving already. Tarmac bites into the nylon of my riding kit momentarily and tattoos the fairing and the headlamp’s clear plastic…

I get up as people lift the bike off me. Somehow, it’s in neutral. Somehow, my left elbow and forearm are screaming in agony. But everything moves like it should. Including my mouth.

I hurl angry abuse at the terrified, bruised, battered little bugger. He never saw me coming. And now, I’m bulked up with my anger, pain and armour. I’m sheathed in my helmet, balaclava and dark glasses. He thinks its Darth Vader yelling at him.

I help a bystander hammer his bent rear rim into riding shape. The elbow is getting worse. I ride to a friends place a couple of kilometres down the road. I can’t pull the clutch in anymore. So I ride in first and second gears, gritting my teeth through intersections.

Finally, I park up. It’s done, I can go to the doctor now and get the elbow looked at. There’s no sign of damage on my kit and no skin’s broken. I’m almost certain there’s no nasty surprises on the other side of an x-ray. Job well done, yeah?

In a week, I’ll be back on it.

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