Saturday, January 07, 2012

the only rule is: there are no rules!

mumbai traffic is interesting (if you can look at it with detachment from your sense of self-preservation and sanity). it comes with chaos and madness that only years of hard-headed aggression and trust in fate will let you tolerate.

amidst all that, i always ride with one guiding principle: follow the rules, and you'll be safe.

looks like i might have to amend that.

one morning, riding to work along link road, i reached a traffic jam. the cause: a traffic cop had decided to take over a (perfectly working) signal.

i inched my way through, sneaking between cars, nudging bicycles and honking at less-aggressive bikers, until I reached the edge of the traffic jam. after a 5 minute wait, i decided to remind the cop that I was waiting, with a couple of honks.

he turned around and waved me through the intersection.

right into the path of a car he had waved through 2 seconds earlier.

thankfully, our reflexes and brakes worked, and we stopped a few inches short of each other. the cop didn't even bother to look!

a few weeks later, i was riding home along the highway. bumper-to-bumper traffic from jogeshwari to malad, as usual. and me doing my usual "disciplined" lane cutting (checking my rearview, signalling lane changes, the works). till a lane broad enough for a biggish vehicle opened up alongside.

since i was at a standstill, i decided to avoid confusion by staying in my lane until the first vehicle passed, and then tailgating along.

and i was rewarded with a nudge to my bike from behind.

turns out the next driver didn't imagine i would wait and let a vehicle pass, so he just launched his car at where i was standing.

i'm not sure what rules i should follow any more.

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