View from the back of a trishaw
Everybody knows trishaw drivers are dangerous. I’d given this no more thought than the weather until one ran me down at a crosswalk, sending my arm thru its window and a child to the hospital.
We were crossing at the crosswalk, normal family holding hands, me facing the traffic. There was a white jeep which stopped to let us pass and a green trishaw coming directly at us. I then noticed that the trishaw wasn’t slowing down and I put my arm out to protest. Then I noticed that the trishaw was right there, my arm was thru the plastic side window and I was trying desperately to shield the girl and kid but falling anyways.
As it happened I was just in shock. It seemed impossible. The trishaw had plenty of time to stop but it just didn’t, it just drove directly into us. It was a designated pedestrian crosswalk and the driver just ran us over. He didn’t notice until my arm went thru his window and I don’t think he applied the breaks until his wheel was a foot away from the kid. WTF.
The girl and I escaped with cuts and bruises, but the kid hit his head and was throwing up and suffering all night. We checked him into hospital for observation and he only returned to his normal rambunctious self in the morning. It was actually quite scary. I can take some damage, but with a child’s brain you really don’t want to take any chances.
At the time we didn’t get any details from the driver, we just rushed the kid to hospital. Now I wish we had, but the choice I saw at the time was spending the day in the cop shed or spending the day in hospital. At that point of the accident I was in shock and just wanted to leave. A crowd of like twenty people gathered around, not helping at all. They were actually freaking the kid out, making things worse. We just got out as soon as possible.
Now, at a distance, I do wish I’d done something. It’s like that CEAT tires ad, the streets are full of idiots. What gets me is that we all kinda accept it. When I tell the story to anyone they’re not surprised. They say, ‘those guys’ as if that’s the way all trishaw drivers are. Not all, obviously, but an awful lot. I’ve been driving around lately and I notice more than ever the dodgy lane crossings, the sneaking into gaps, and the ignoration of pedestrian crosswalks.
On that last issue, things have gone seriously wrong. When I stop for pedestrians they often look surprised. People don’t stop. If they do, other people go around the side, blindly passing through the crossing. We were lucky we got hit by a trishaw. If it was a car or a bus we would have been really fucked. Hell, even if the window was glass rather than plastic my arm would be badly lacerated right now.
I don’t know what the point was, but something is seriously wrong with Colombo traffic. Something is also wrong with the system and with me because we didn’t report the issue, as this Daily Mirror columnist said is often the case. He mentioned the following as a possible remedy
A year or two ago there was a system by which three wheelers were registered according to the police division in which they functioned and the details of the police division was stamped on the vehicle. This made it easier to identify the vehicle. However though the scheme was started with much fanfare it appeared to have been suddenly dropped for now one finds more vehicles not having the police area they belong to stamped at the rear of the vehicle.
I don’t know. Something. The streets are mad.