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A. J. Windless
Motorcycles and Wheel Chairs  (March 12, 2017)
In Bangkok there millions of motorcycles buzzing around on the streets and they go everywhere, in between the cars, on the sidewalks, up the road in the wrong direction, and they really don't mind ignoring the traffic laws. Five or ten years ago I read in the Bangkok Post that there are 35 traffic fatalities per day in Bangkok, and that 34 of them are on motorcycles. When I worked at a school on the west side of Bangkok we got into a discussion about who among us had been in a motorcycle accident within the last year. There were 40 of us working at that school and I was the only one that didn't ride a motorcycle. Every rider had been in an accident within the last year, and one rider had been in three accidents within the last year. Later I moved to a different campus where we had the same discussion with the same results. Everyone but Adam had been in an accident within the last year, Kalfee had been in three. And it wasn't because Kalfee was careless. Adam, who had followed behind him and witnessed each accident, vouched that it was because people driving cars would do crazy things, like turn directly into Kalfee. I witnessed a mishap like that one day just across the street from where I live. A motorcycle was on the inside lane. From two lanes out, without even getting into the left lane first, the driver of a car decided much too late to turn into McDonald's,  quickly veering 90 degress left, hitting the motorcycle. The rider flew through the air in somersaults for about 50 feet smacking into the back of a bus. He was out cold for awhile and I thought he was dead. I was utterly surpised when he picked himself up off the ground and gingerly began walking. Recently I met a foreigner who has been bicycling all over Thailand for about a year now. When someone asks him if he has been in an accident he responds, "What, you mean in the last two days?" In such a short span he has already experienced 10 accidents. The obvious question from me was, "And you continue to ride here?" So, for all of those who have asked why I don't get a motorcycle here in Bangkok, now you know. A motorcycle might get me through the traffic jams more quickly, but I deeply treasure being able to walk and run and move about without the assistance of a wheel chair.
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