- 24 . 08 . 05
I was crossing a small side street this morning on the way to work, when a car pulled out of a blind side-road and hit my bike side-on. Neither of us were travelling too fast so it wasn’t a big collision, but I was knocked off and my bike was crushed pretty badly. Fortunately, apart […]
I was crossing a small side street this morning on the way to work, when a car pulled out of a blind side-road and hit my bike side-on. Neither of us were travelling too fast so it wasn’t a big collision, but I was knocked off and my bike was crushed pretty badly. Fortunately, apart from a few grazes and bruises, I wasn’t hurt, but just a bit shaken up. The woman responsible was really upset and must have said ’sumimasen’ about a thousand times. She insisted on calling the police, even though I told her it wasn’t necessary, but I’m pretty glad she did now. This is the first accident like this I’ve been involved in and for it to happen in another country is pretty unfortunate, so I wasn’t really thinking too clearly.
When the police arrived they started making chalk outlines on the floor and measuring the area with metre sticks. With no evidence, apart from my smashed up bike, I can’t see how this would be important, but they took lots of photos as well and seemed happy enough busying themselves with sketches of the area and interviewing us both. They asked me how much compensation I wanted and seemed quite impressed and pleased when I said it was an accident and that I didn’t need any. The woman and the police both insisted that I go to hospital, even though I wasn’t really injured and, rather that fighting with them all when they were just trying to help, I agreed. Again, in retrospect this was a good idea.
I was quite surprised then, when the police began packing up to leave. I wondered if they had changed their mind, or instead expected me to walk to the hospital. They cheerfully announced that the woman would be taking me, and then would be buying me a new bike, and that she had agreed and that it was all fine. The thought of entrusting my safety to the driving of someone who’d just crashed did flash across my mind, but lightning never striking twice and all, I agreed. The whole thing felt pretty surreal really, so I just went along with what I was told.
This was my first time in a hospital in Japan, so it was reassuring to find that they smell the same here as they do in England, all disinfectant and old people. The examination was brief but thorough and as expected I only had scrapes and bruises. I was pretty lucky not to have injured my upper body at all, and, as far as I can remember, my head hadn’t even touched the ground. I got hit with a rubber hammer a couple of hundred times to check that I hadn’t broken anything and the doctor started tickling me to check my reactions. I got a couple of cool bandages for the grazes. At this point I think some sort of delayed shock might have kicked in, because I began laughing uncontrollably for no real reason. I think most of the other patients must have thought I was in the wrong kind of hospital… Anyway, for the rest of the day, everything was pretty funny and I find I’m even smiling as I write this. It’s the same kind of laughter as at a clown; laughing because otherwise you’ll cry or something. Clowns are scary.
Following the hospital, as promised, the woman took me to a bike shop and bought me a new one. She even tried to buy me a more expensive model, with gears and everything, but I refused. Had she been trying to avoid all responsibility, I might have taken her for a bit more, but she was an honest woman, was very remorseful and I’m not (I hope) the kind of person to take advantage like that.
The whole experience felt like it should be mundane – a low impact collision, no injuries, just a minor inconvenience. But thinking about it now, it’s actually a lot more stressful than that, for reasons I can’t put my finger on. Anyway, I’m ok now and am fairly certain I don’t have any psychological scarring (beyond the normal) from it all. I’ll just make sure I’m cycling further away from the building-side of the pavement from now on, though.
Of course, this means that I’m now on my fourth bike. I’ll be opening a sweepstake on how long this one lasts. Place your bets now please.