Jun 4, 2008

They never learn

Came over the crest of a flyover as usual. Streetlights never work here and good headlights and a thorough familiarity with the road surface here are a great asset. On that night, it was invaluable. God'd been going nuts with his new camera for a while now and the repeated flashes could only mean one thing. A developing rain storm. And as we started climbing the flyover, the pitter patter began to turn into the surprisingly violent roar that's heavy rain. Through the roar of heavy drops on vinyl – yellow roof over my head – I heard the distinctive skreee-scrawshhhhhh that means a biker is down. We came over the crest into a rash of red tail lights as traffic braked hard for what looked like a snarl. I've seen snarls here before, they last a kilometre. Even as I began to dread the forty minutes it would take to get through, I saw the anonymous tail lamp of a Hero Honda Splendor leaning over like a MotoGP god. And then it was down, rider flapping uselessly along behind the bike, as both slid inevitable forward, down the slope.

For the umpteenth time, the first rains brought down temperatures, tempers and a heck of a lot of bikers. The rash of tail lamps, you see was created by at least four bikers who were down. Two Pulsars, one Thunderbird and another Splendor, apart from the one I saw tipping over. My autorickshaw driver was very much into rubber necking, but I heckled him into gently negotiating the fallen bikes – all the bikers were yelling about, 'Who the f**k dropped oil?' and seemed just a little worse for the wear – tatty shirt elbows and holed knees but nothing serious.

Oil? How would you trace the drops of oil left behind by literally thousands of trucks, SUVs and cars since what, August last year?

Further down the road, I got the rick to slow down to a slippery 35 kph, buzzing nervously along the pavement on the extreme left of the road. And I spotted at least another six bikes with bent stuff on them, parked on the side. Riders on the phones, 'Er... Honey, I'll be late... No, I fell off the bike... oil... f**ckers!'

It happens every single year, so you think they'd figure it out and learn. The first rains, wash up the oil and dirt on the road, before they wash it off. That means that first wet hour is properly lethal. Like riding on ice. On walking on a freshly polished floor wearing silk moccasins. As slippery as a freshly caught fish... The hour where it's probably safer to just leave the bike parked safely and take a four-wheeled thing home. But, no, they never learn.

12 comments:

Hrishi said...

I crawled home at a max of 30kmph yesterday.
Scary, and exhilarating at the same time...

I was just thinking what you have posted...

:)

Arpan said...

What were you doing in a rick? where is your bike?

Yep first 2-3 showers are scary

EvolutioN said...

@Rearset,

In a country where most people do not understand dynamics of the motorcycles that they drive, and think lean angle has something to do with women, how do you expect them to read and understand the dynamics between the road and the rubber?

Aren't you asking for a bit too much from people who only know how to twist the accelerator and depress the brakes?

Think about it...

Love, laughter n keep the Faith,

S

Satyen Poojary said...

Awe! A four wheeler! its fun to ride in rains... yeah but I agree on the general tendency to speed to avoid rains and then end up messing yourself and others up!

I ride on the extreme left hiding from everyone with a constant view in the RVMs as well... trying to figure which muddle can have a hidden tunnel leading to some place! dont know why they call them Manhole ... Pot Hole... ;)

Welcome Rains!

The BATFAN said...

It is a poor human tendency my friend which the better of us have to learn to bear. Because the most of mankind is foolish to learn its lessons the remaining are forced to rue the world we live in. Ultimately I have realized our lives are small pieces of a jigsaw which does not necessarily represent a merry picture which can be understood.

The quote that I most like from "The Alchemist" is "Everything is one". I believe it really is. Humans ... We never really learn. But I believe the more important question is do we choose not to or we simply do not understand. Hmmm That would be an interesting research. What say you?

Navendu said...

Oil on road is always dangerous and it becomes more deadly during the first hour of first rain. How to handle that is not the only thing people need to learn.
One more reason for them to fall is the condition in which they try to use their tyres.
But then if we all learn then bikes will never fall and sales of plastic spare parts along with other stuff (that takes the hit during a fall) will go to nil.

So which bike are you flying on now a days? :-)

The BATFAN said...

Error in the comment above

Read
foolish to learn its lessons

as
foolish not to learn its lessons

Revhard said...

Hmm , nearly 5 years of motorcycling , and I never fell in the rains . Luck ? Defensive riding ?

Whoever said majority of riders don't know how to ride properly, is likely veyr right. For all my high speeds, I haven't had too bad a crash , while other 'safer' (read slower) riders have come off worse in crashes.

hey rearset, any stats on motorcycles accidents - something that segregates crashes according to bike's cc in India ? I'm quite sure , as a percentage of sales, 100cc-150cc bikes will have higher proportion of accidents than 200cc plus.

EvolutioN said...

@ Rearset

On a completely unrelated note, could you please expound on the need to wear ear sound dampeners?

My view is that when you are cutting down on sounds, you are eliminating one of the three most important senses while driving...

It is understandable for ear sound dampeners to be worn on foreign roads, where the traffic is uniform, and drivers stick to roads, but don't you think you need the added perception of whether the car/ bike/ truck is coming from the left/ right side (I am talking of approach from behind) in order to adjust the lean angle/ curvature of the turn...

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

some stuff here

http://rearset.blogspot.com/2007/11/motorcycle-helmets-can-i-hear-clearly.html

and here

http://rearset.blogspot.com/2006/02/listen-up.html

am not rearset and do not know how to linky

ciao
gr

Anonymous said...

says I, for one, highly recommend earplugs and I never ride without them.

says My spatial orientation was pretty spot-on (no sense of someone honking far, far away or any such)

nothing specific about wearing earplugs and riding in the rain but i guess should be pretty much the same

ofc am not rearset and hopefully the linkies will work

ciao
gr

Car Marketing said...

no matter what! some bikes have the angles that you should be bending while taking curves but still they have got the measurements of do and donts..bikes are not just the things to impress girls...they hve much more to do..