Thailand has some terrible road accident statistics and add to that the increased danger of riding a motorbike and I have been lucky to survive almost ten years without an incident on my bike (or car). Having got a scooter about a year ago and riding much more in Bangkok I foolishly begin to scale back on wearing riding gear that I religiously wear on my BMW for long trips. More convenience and cooler but at what cost?
Yesterday I discovered the cost of not wearing a jacket and was a wake up call to the dangers of Bangkok city traffic.
At the major intersection between Bang-Na Trad and Sukhumvit road I was going to turn right. Having been at that intersection a lot I have seen many times people running red lights. I never shoot off from lights and always wait for green but this time I was first across the intersection on green. It is large intersection and when almost at the middle a car flashed into view from my left. It was all a blur from then but what I pieced together happened (as I don’t fully remember) is hitting the brakes and losing the front wheel, missing the car but sliding along on my arms.
The driver in an all too familiar Thai tradition did not stop. I could see the car (a red Suzuki Swift I think) down the road and stopped with traffic. I leapt up full of adrenaline picked up the Vespa and headed to the police box. The policeman although initially concerned did not really react so I decided to go off to find the driver. Although by that time I had lost sight of the car. It was probably best I not catch up as this could be a whole different story.
I was then in two minds, do I work my way back to the police box and engage in what would be a difficult Basil Fawlty and Manuel, chicken and duck, Thai/English discussion or just let it be and get mended. With the adrenaline fading and the pain rising getting fixed up won so I headed to the Samitivej clinic on Soi La Salle which is close to my office. The large Samitivej hospitals I find impersonal and money grabbing but this little local clinic is excellent with caring personal staff.
So I live another day, lucky to be alive and a bit wiser. Always wear a jacket when on two wheels and never be the first away from a Bangkok intersection. Second is best!