Saturday, September 22, 2007

Too many motorcycles


This morning our young Burmese co-worker broke to us a bad news. “The young man in our neighbor died of a motorcycle accident last night” he said awkwardly smiling showing his black-stained teeth because of his incessant betel nut chewing .

I was trying to recall who was that reckless young man who died unnecessarily but I could not remember him at all. You see, I don’t spend much time in the Day Care Center where my wife and some Burmese fellow workers are taking care of the children while their parents are working very hard. In the center, my wife teaches free English and leads Bible study to the parents of the children and neighbors who want to learn. I just come to the center to pick-up the child and drive them home or vice-versa or do some cleaning up or repair works.

Anyways, back to the accident. Deaths from motorcycle accident are very common here in Thailand. This is not unusual because everybody rides it from a child of ten to a grandmother of seventy. We have been here almost two years and I already heard stories of more than ten accidents related to motorcycle. A friend even saw a motorcycle with two passengers plunge about ten meters up to the air after a pick-up in full speed crash unto it. Also, my wife saw young men and his motorbike rolled ten times when its driver tried to make a u-turn in full speed. And my wife was not exaggerating. Well I hope so.

I started driving the van here two months ago. And the ever present of speeding motorcycles from different directions are making me confused and sick. I mean, I may die of hypertension or heart attack or worst I might find a motorcycle under the van.

I tried to ride a motorcycle taxi in Chiang Mai and I made a promise to myself, I will never ever do it again. I am afraid I might not make it back in one piece to my wife and children. It is a fast way of transportation but very dangerous. Here, you may not die of accident. But if you have a weak heart, you may die anyway. And I’m not exaggerating either.

Thaiwebsites. Com says that:

Way too many young people still die unnecessarily in Thailand due to car and (mostly) motorcycle accidents. The actual number of deaths on the road is reportedly around 30,000. Many more of course get maimed for live, or require expensive medical care (if they can afford it). Reasons are discussed forever.

Motorcycle deaths of course are mostly among young males. Still to common (especially in the side streets) one sees youngsters driving around without helmet protection. Motorcycle taxis seem to be allowed to carry passengers without requiring them to wear a helmet.
Especially in view of the rapidly declining birth rates in Thailand, the thousands of people killed yearly in motorcycle accidents will be surely missed in the future.
The picture is from Thaiwebsites.com with a very sound advise saying motorcycle taxis are fast but not safeway of transport...we recommend you walk at all times.

1 comment:

George said...

Same here. One of our neighbors almost had his leg amputated.