Oh? Am I in Your Way?

There are two things that seriously taint any road trip in India.

  1. The Roads. For the most part, they are horrible. Even if they are in good repair, they can and often do turn sour quickly. Pot holes the size of small countries appear out of nowhere on an otherwise smooth road.
  2. The drivers. I can’t say “in the world” because, I haven’t driven in every country. But I can say “that I have ever seen”. They are the worst.

There is an apparent disregard for human life on the roads here in India. Actually, let me qualify that, disregard for everyone else’s life. Granted, I come from Canada and we have been accused of being overly polite and cautious. But I have driven in the US, England, Thailand, Bermuda, Greece, and been driven around in 15 other countries and have never seen the flagrant disregard for traffic rules like I see here.

I sadly cannot recount a single road trip where there hasn’t been at least one idiot that has put my wife and I at risk. I just don’t understand it. Let’s be very clear, I am not speaking about the obvious cultural traffic abnormalities (for me anyway). Carts pulled by camels or water buffalo, an abundance of bicycle and pedestrian traffic, the tri wheeled delivery….things! And god love the Tuk Tuk’s that make a glorious mess out of everything. I’m not even talking about the too many cars crammed onto a street that was built a hundred years ago and designed for carts. No, I am speaking directly to the impatient, thumb constantly on horn, lane disregarding, headlight flashing, queue cutting, breakdown lane swerving, wrong way on a one way street, jump the red light, force my way into your space because I am bigger, assholes that litter the streets of India.

You’re a menace. A scourge that seriously needs to be wiped clean from India. What exactly is it that makes you think you are entitled to cut a lane in two and wedge your car in between my bike and a bus? Are you that scary important that you quite simply deserve to be in front of everyone else? Or is the truth of it that you are simply too ignorant to realize that it is wrong, that it worsens the traffic congestion and that it’s bloody dangerous?

Returning from a lovely ride this weekend, one of these puerile delinquents decided the cars in the fast lane were not moving quickly enough for him. So he swerved into the slow lane and tried to bully the cars there in to speeding up. With no luck there, he proceeded into the breakdown lane, and sped up. Unlucky for me (in the slow lane, puttering along relishing the fact that we were almost home after an 8 hour ride) an ice-cream cart forced him to leave the break down lane, and rejoin traffic right at the spot where I was riding. Now, did he slow down and slip in behind me?  Well, anyone who has driven in India knows the answer to that.  It’s much simpler to force me into the other lane no? A great way to end a weekend road trip.

Mrs. R tells me I won’t change the tide by blogging about it, nor will my outrage solve the problem. It just saddens me, that with such a beautiful country to explore on my doorstep, you take your life in your hands every time you leave the house.  The highways are held hostage by these ass clowns who don’t see the landscape around them anyway.

Ah well, my fellow riders, keep your head on a swivel and best of luck out there.  Maybe someday I will live in a world where I can take a brief moment to lift my head and enjoy the amazing scenery slipping by me. That would be a nice thing to do while I explore this country I now call home.

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A Canadian born Brit with a bad case of wanderlust