From the title above, it is pretty obvious what today’s post is about: ACCIDENTS
No matter how cautious you are, someone out there is not – it is just what it is!
I would lie if I said I have not got any accident before, for the time I have used my “Bentley”
And by accident, I don’t mean sliding on a slippery road or unexpectedly falling into a pothole or knocking a raised pavement marker – NOP!
I mean actual collision with either a person or another vehicle.
Now before I divulge the details of this, THOU SHALST NOT JUDGE ME!
Whatever you read below, tell yourself, “Each experience she gets involved in, she learns a thing or two”
Another thing, these experiences are “THOSE THINGS” I can’t tell my parents and I hope you don’t too 😀
ANYWAYS, Back to business, I DO think leaving home and coming back SAFELY is something UNDERRATED!
How death chooses who should meet their demise in a dreadful way is such a mystery to me.
Recently, I learnt about a friend’s friend that lost his life in a motor accident as he was riding back home from a high school soccer reunion.
Another time, as I was on my bike cycling home, a protruding iron sheet on some random truck glided at neck-length past boda-bodas that were a few metres behind me, only for riders to lose direction and fall with their passengers into the pavement where I was cycling from.
I don’t want to give you the details of how that detriment above transpired considering how gruesome it was for my eyes.
My point here is ANY DAY is ACCIDENT TIME whether you are a driver, a passenger, a cyclist, a rider or a passer-by – at least for now before science discovers a way to foretell someone’s “death day”.
From my experience as a road user, the days you don’t see yourself get into someone or someone getting into you, is the day such MISCHIEF happens.
So far, I have had four encounters, one of which was my fault – yes moment of truth, and remember: don’t judge me and NEITHER should you tell my parents.
For all the times I got these encounters, I get on the road assuming I have everything under control; “I always know when to enter the road, today cannot be the day I go awry” or “Well today, I don’t think anything will happen since there seems to be no traffic”
Well, that seemed to not be the case, as in the cases below:
Very first time
It was a Sunday during my initial public-cycling days – still wide-eyed to consider taking any chances and sticking to the extreme left for the sake of keeping out of any vehicle’s way.
And just like any normal Sundays, there was no traffic at all.
One moment I was pedaling and the next one, I found myself lying on the ground with my face up and my bike on the ground too, but a couple of metres away from me.
I could swear it all happened in the twinkling of an eye.
It was after the empathy towards me and vindictive ridicule towards a boda-boda guy from eye witnesses that I realised I had been hit by a motorcycle
“Banange Mulamuuuu, nyabo, are you okay? Ndabye nga owa boda abadde alobye wamukkonedde! Naye aba boda babaki? Meaning “Oh she is alive! Woman, are you okay? I saw the bodaboda getting distracted before he knocked her down! What is wrong with Boda guys?
Inquire not about how my legs were positioned when I landed on the ground, we are being serious right now.
I’d lie if I said I felt any pain from the fall but somehow, I found myself crying – YES, BIG GIRLS CRY TOO
I think anyone in the position I was in at that time would fall victim to the sympathy I got from the witnesses, who subsequently and domineeringly urged the boda-boda guy to pay for any medical bills I’d incur.
Can I acknowledge how lucky I was for the boda-boda guy to stop instead of evading the consequences of his misstep? This is something the witnesses had completely ignored.
Docile as he was, the boda-boda guy rode me to the nearest clinic with orthopaedic services, as one of the witnesses being a fuel station manager designated himself as the keeper of my bike while we(the boda-boda guy and I) sought medical attention.
Luckily for me, the x-ray scan came out showing no harm done on my back.
I attribute this to my laptop as I had it in my backpack at the time the boda-boda guy knocked me, which by the way only got a crack that could be fixed by glue.
To sum it all for this one, I had no serious injury whatsoever except for a bump on the rear fender of my bike and a tear around the back yoke of my favourite leggings.
This was completely my fault!
That specific day, I was contemplating about a certain expenditure I needed to make and how parched it would leave my bank account.
I was so lost in my head that I obliviously aimed to cross the road without ensuring there was no vehicle coming my way.
I was brought back to reality by the squeaking sound of wheels from a taxi and subsequent rant about how reckless I was from the passengers in the taxi
The car had made actual contact with a portion of the front wheel of my bike.
Truth be told, I was super terrified – I mean, I would be the prevailing winds as you read this (would I have written this piece anyway?!)
I consider that as the most extreme of the dumb things I have done that I promised myself I would never engage in ever again – currently practising MINDFULNESS, in case you want to follow up with the HOW I plan to do that, and also, crossing from a zebra crossing.
You know the rush hour between 8 to around 10 am when the roads are populated with cars?
In all honesty, I have no nice words for how the traffic at that time makes me feel!
Just recently, I was stuck in traffic at about 5:30 pm (with other riders of course) at a place with a boda-boda stage and a roadside market – Kalerwe to be exact.
Being the conspicuous female cyclist that I was, some random guy started to jibe with me with remarks that only reinforced the limelight I was in at the moment.
Paying no heed to his remarks, he poked me farther by sitting on my bike’s pillion while saying things like, “Mama Nakanjako leero ngenda nawe” meaning “Today I am going with you, Mother to Nakanjako” – The guts!
And I would be lying if I said I am patient enough to bear the exasperation that stems from such unreasonable agitation.
Such patience-testing incidents force me to ride from lanes I am not allowed to, like passenger pavements
Just so you know, I know it’s wrong but hey, can we focus on the fact that I am a human being with innate survival skills?
Besides emulating other riders – both motorcyclists and cyclists – using the pavements, I am lured by the fact that they are usually void of their users: pedestrians
This one day (the day before my birthday), I did what I usually do: get out of the thick of traffic to you know where – Pedestrian pavements.
Carefully but swiftly, I resumed my journey to work
As I progressed on my no-impediment journey, I met a pedestrian that just didn’t seem to heed my hooting.
Until I was within spitting distance of him.
As he moved in front while he turned to see who was making “noise” for him, he did so in the direction I was riding, as I was trying to avoid him
Did I mention this was at the verge of the pavement on the side next to the road?!
I knew this wasn’t going to end well considering brakes were no longer any useful.
To avoid colliding into the pedestrian, my brain reckoned it better to fall on a heap of sugarcanes that were on a bodaboda stuck in traffic – which I didn’t mind falling onto considering there would have been a possibility of falling on the actual ground
And there I was, pretty tall elegant almost-birthday-girl me falling on sugarcanes without causing a scratch on the pedestrian
Meanwhile, this said pedestrian just proved to be dumb – forgive me to say!
I know in driving school, a pedestrian is never at fault, and choosing to fall onto the sugarcanes was me putting that into practice.
Mr. Pedestrian just didn’t see the trouble I went through to not get his morning messed but rather, started throwing tantrums.
To the extent of wanting to slap me (He was shorter than me, so you might as well picture that sight😏)
My oh my!
Definitely that scene became a centre of attention, but with me as the BAD GUY.
And our beloved audience (people that were in traffic) could only utter things like, “Forgive her forgive her, she is a WOMAN”
There was everything WRONG happening….
Starting from the mere fact that I was regretting why I went to the pavement, falling onto sugarcanes, the sexism from the people in traffic and worse, wanting to slap me, amidst throwing insults at me
It’s just hard to be human I tell you.
And all I could do was ask the guy to respect himself even when I felt like I should have said more
I mean, it’s hard to give dressing-downs in a language that ain’t your mother tongue – this is from my childhood experience.
Any way, it was too much for me to deal with plus I was already running late, so I just rode away as Mr Pedestrian kept ranting and raving.
I still use the pavements – no lie – but of course, more responsibly
FYI, this is my side of the story and I know I did the best I could to not cause any harm.
However, if you asked Mr. Pedestrian for his version, he would go all out on how RECKLESS and DISRESPECTFUL I was that morning.
Last but not least…..the fourth and more Common
Not sure what is in your mind but I bet it ain’t what you think it is
My most common collision is with FLYING INSECTS and other disrespectful flying organisms that my primary teacher categorised as members of phylum Arthropoda – look at you forgetting your biology😅
Anyways, I think being prepped about having an unexpected impact with those small twits while learning how to ride a bicycle should be one of the CORE elements of the lesson.
You never know when one will be approaching you, and it is not like they make any serious sound to let you know of their coming.
Like all accidents, these creatures always find me unaware
Weirdly though, it is during times of utmost vulnerability when say my mouth is open from panting or when my nose is wider than usual as I am trying to catch some air amidst hard pedalling
It is a total mess trying to expel one while trying to concentrate on staying in your lane to ensure the big truck behind you doesn’t sweep you off the road.
Do I chew it? Can I swallow it? What if it is one of those insects that will irritate my fragile oesophagus?
With all those questions running in my mind, there is no way I can let it go past my throat.
I just always find a way of apprehending it in my mouth and spitting it out at a time of my earliest convenience.
Now if that was unpleasant for you to read, imagine ME that has to go through it almost every day as I ride.
By and large, I have been a “knocker” and “knockee” and as luck has had it, I have come out alive and not harmed, which I don’t take for granted.
That though, is not guarantee that I will still be okay tomorrow or another time I am on the road.
But just because I am at risk of getting involved in an accident (I mean we all are) doesn’t mean I should deprive myself of travelling, or for my case, all the myriad benefits cycling has to offer – I just need to be extra careful.
I am always happy😊 to know your thoughts on this piece or your experience as a road user!