Scooter Wreck! Bloodshed! Carnage! Explosions! (Part I)

Well, ok, no, there were no explosions and very little carnage and minimal bloodshed. But yes, it finally happened: I got in a wreck on my scooter this morning. We don’t call it a deathcycle for nothing.

So here’s what happened. I needed some gas, and I knew there was a gas station a couple blocks down Cingnian from my place. I had to return some sheets that I bought over the weekend (I didn’t realize when I purchased them that they were inexplicably shiny – like sheets you’d see in a bad sci-fi movie set in the future, or in Liberace’s guest room), so I put them in between my feet on the scooter and started down the road.

Now, you should know that Cingnain is a pretty big road; and two blocks from my place, it intersects with another big street called Mincyuan. It was in this giant intersection where both my morning and myself were thrown a bit off-kilter. The light was green as I approached the intersection, and I entered it on the northeast side with a casual serenity. There’s something refreshing about driving a scooter in the morning.

The gas station was on the opposite corner from me, and, since the traffic was fairly light, I briefly entertained the notion of just cutting straight across diagonally and saving myself precious seconds. Traveling at maybe 35 km per hour, I veered ever-so-slightly to the left for just a split-second, then thought better of it and began to straighten out. But it was too late.

Unbeknownst to me, another scooter was racing up on my left, flying down the road like a bat out of hell in desperate need of a bathroom. [If you don’t drive one of these deathcycles regularly, there are two things you need to know before we proceed: 1) we do have right and left mirrors on our scooters, but it’s hard to get a decent rear view, given the fact that they’re not set very wide and our sleeves flapping in the wind tend to make up about half of what we see; 2) because of the noise of all the other scooters flying about on the road at various speeds, it’s not always so easy to tell when one is getting close to you.]

And it just so happened that the split-second I veered (nay, tilted maybe 8 degrees) to the left was indeed the same split-second that Madame Speedracer was trying to pass me on the left at a ridiculously close distance. Why she felt the need to pass me so close remains a mystery. As I said, there wasn’t much traffic, and there was plenty of room around me. But she wanted to live dangerously, it seems. Even if I hadn’t veered/tilted leftward, she would have been able to touch me on her way by. Maybe it was my new aftershave; perhaps those squat-thrusts are making a change for the better in my backside appearance; or maybe she didn’t like me from the get-go and intended to shove me down as she passed by, Mad Max style. Whatever her thoughts (or lack thereof), the situation did not end well. For either of us. (I should add that my momentary idiotic inkling to cut across diagonally played just as big a part in this calamity as her foolishness.)

I tilt left, she zooms up to my left flank, sees me tilting at the last possible second, quickly tries to veer left herself, and it looks for a second like we might avoid disaster… but then her back tire catches my front tire, we both skid and wobble for the slightest of milliseconds, then her scooter capsizes to the left, and she falls off her scooter entirely; my scooter, now completely out of control, hits her fallen bike, which sends me into the air and my scooter to the ground…

From then it was like a slow-motion blur – I don’t remember exactly what happened… I do remember my lower body slamming into her bike as I flew, and that it hardly stopped any of my forward momentum; and I remember the top of my head crashing onto the street, and the rest of my body subsequently flying up and over my head in what I imagine was an incredibly ungraceful somersault; and I remember thinking that none of it was hurting as much as I expected it to. Thank you, helmet.

And so there I was, at 10:30 in the morning, lying facedown in the street in the middle of a giant intersection in Taiwan. Behind me lie two fallen scooters, engines still futilely churning, like two wounded horses gasping for air on a battlefield. And next to me lie the woman who’d gone down with me. She was still facedown on the street, motionless, and whimpering in agony.

[Read Part II here!]

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~ by Nick on August 20, 2009.

10 Responses to “Scooter Wreck! Bloodshed! Carnage! Explosions! (Part I)”

  1. Wait a second…was she okay? you can’t end a story that way, well obviously you can, you did. But you leave your readers wondering, maybe that’s why the title says, part 1. I’m dumb. moving on.

  2. I think this story needs a soundtrack ….

  3. Oh goodness! I am SO glad you were wearing a helmet. As I read the blog I was wondering that minor detail.

  4. Nick!! Haven’t said hi to you in Asia until now, and the moment I see your blog, you’re flipping through the air luckily not falling to your death! Great story! And though I do want to know what happens next, I love the way it ends.

  5. Nick, you must finish this story and let us know that that lady is not dead. BTW, at least once a day I come within inches of the same fate. Breezing along without a care in the world, or collapsing into a motorized heap on the asphalt– seems it’s a fine line in scooterland.

  6. I’m so glad you’re okay! Your readers desperately await part II.

  7. […] Scooter Wreck! Bloodshed! Carnage! Explosions! (Part II) [You can read Part I here. The paragraph below is how it ended…] […]

  8. […] Wreck! Bloodshed! Carnage! Explosions! (Part III) [You can read Part I here and Part II here. The paragraph below is how Part II […]

  9. […] no doubt recall, I was in a bad scooter accident a little more than two months ago (it was a riveting three-part series on this very blog!). Long story short, I was driving through a big intersection […]

  10. […] the end, it was like my scooter accident – the experience seemed much longer than it actually was, but the damage was swift and […]

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