Crunching miles on Indian roads and still alive to talk about it!
My Car Vs. My Scooter
Before I start off, I must say that I ride a scooter to work. So I know that it is challenging and I know that driving safely is a priority, even if it costs more time. I know checking mirrors, looking at blind spots, indicating when turning and respecting right of way are all important while riding for me and for fellow road users.
Other than work, I usually use my car: for Sunday trips to church, the occasional supermarket trip, some home visits, late-night drives to work (I avoid using the scooter after 8 PM) and plenty of highway drives. Although I barely cover 10000 Km a year, I have seen enough on my journeys that could cause many heart attacks!
This article shows videos of some bad motorcyclists I've noticed when I drive my car. I constantly come across motorcyclists who have scant respect for the rules, for fellow travellers and their own lives. I've caught a few such moments on my dash cam and will post them here. You'll realize why driving is not always relaxing in India!
What Motorcyclists Do Wrong
In India, it's really difficult to pinpoint a reason why some motorcyclists ride rashly and dangerously. Being smaller and more manoeuvrable than cars, motorcyclists try to squeeze into any gap available. They don't believe in keeping a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Rearview mirrors are mere fashion accessories and checking blind spots is deemed unnecessary—it's the other person's responsibility to notice the motorcycle. Most of them don't seem to know that motorcycles have indicators. The believe only in the horn. Many feel that their skulls are stronger than a helmet.
Ultimately, in India, the bigger vehicle is deemed to be at fault. So when they nudge, bump or crash into a car, they scream obscenities at you and make it your fault just because you're in a car—and every bystander will support the motorcyclist! Incredible India indeed!
1. Parenting Fail: Child Standing on a Motorcycle
With all the dangers already present for motorcyclists on the road, it's amazing when they choose to increase their likelihood of a fatal outcome.... for their own child. From the 7 second mark on this video you can see this family (2 parents and a child on 1 motorbike) nervously enter the road, cutting in front of me with a little wobble. Now watch as the mother choose this time to entertain her child - by allowing her to stand on the seat between the parents. Facepalm! The road is bumpy and the dad is certainly not in control of the motorcycle. No amount of honking and gesturing and shouting at them made them change their mind as they went on their thrilling ride without helmets! I hope they made it home safe.
2. Head-On: Wrong side of the Highway
Fortunately, over the past decade, Indian Highways have gotten better. This means that we drive quite fast on the highways. I easily do 100 KMPH on these highways and am constantly overtaken by cars doing 140 KMPH. This rider has chosen this highway for his ride. Ok, fair enough. He also chose to go the wrong way. Er.... and on the fast lane with cars and trucks zooming towards him at >100 KMPH. Crazy enough? I hope he reached his home and not the obituary section!
3. Wrrrrrroooooong: Drunk, Young, Overloaded and on the Wrong Side
This scene unfolding in front of me scared me and saddened me. It's obvious that these riders are young and probably don't have a license. Their eyes were glazed, unfocussed and they darted onto the wrong side of the road to sneak into a side road. I caught a glimpse of an open bottle of alcohol in one of their hands. They missed me, a couple of others and zoomed on. Somewhere some mother was wondering why they were late. Better late than never!
4. Adventurous: Famous on Facebook
Riders have a natural flair for being adventurous. In India, every motorcyclist thinks he is the next big thing.... on facebook or instagram. They capture their deeds and misdeeds hoping for their moment in the limelight and under the spotlight and maybe hoping that one girl will smile and the world is theirs to conquer.
Here is a typical example. This small group zips through the highway not bothering about rules while they use their mobiles to shoot their adventure on mobile cameras. Not a care in the world and not a helmet on their heads, they scoot and overtake however they wish to. After all, aren't they the future of this world?
I hope they got famous on Facebook and not in the news!
5. Distracted: Bump Goes the Motorcycle
A girl on the pillion is worth ten on the road?
This rider was obviously distracted as he makes a lazy turn. He bumps into a car, doesn't care and then dilly dallies across lanes till a rude honk from me wakes him up briefly, but he still doesn't care. He is in cloud 9 as he waddles away. I hope this had a fairy tale ending and not a grim finish.
6. U-turn: 360 Degrees Around My Car
As I make a right turn at a junction, this rider wants to do a U-turn. Simple enough? Nope. As I begin my turn, he overtakes me from the left, swipes my front bumper, honks and rides across right in front of me and completes a successful U-turn. His friends from the side probably cheered for this! He probably was happy he saved 3.8 seconds of his life with this dangerous helmetless manoeuvre.
Someone needs to tell him that he can't make a U-turn from the grave - too late!
My Dash Cam May Be My Savior One Day
I bought a Viofo A119V2 dash-cam to capture some good scenic drives. But I've ended up storing more footage of dangerous drivers and incidents! One day it will save my skin - when i get accused of doing something I haven't done.
All the footage I've shown below was shot on my dash cam and uploaded to YouTube. Before the dash-cam purchase I also used a mobile phone with a dash-cam app to shoot footage.
That's it for now. I will post some dash-cam video collections when possible. While I do tend to showcase some dangerous drives, I will also try to throw in some articles with videos of the scenic drives I have taken. So long!