One of the first things that I noticed about Japan was the large number of people riding bikes along the wide sidewalks here in Fukuoka.  After witnessing several near-miss bicycle accidents, it struck me that no one wears a helmet while they ride their bike.  Some riders even like to temp fate by ride their bike down the sidewalk at night while simultaneous texting on their mobile phone.  As a result, I am probably looked at as the “crazy gaijin” who rides his mountain bike on the sidewalk while wearing a helmet.

Last Thursday, I was at the scene of an accident where I witnessed the reality of what happens when you don’t wear a helmet.  That day, a friend and I had ridden from Akasaka out to Itoshima for lunch.  It was an overcast day, but the rain held off for the entire 60 km ride.  We had just turned left onto Meiji-dori with about 10 km left to go on the ride.  There was a K-truck parked on the sidewalk that was getting to back-up onto the street.  Further ahead, a bus was in the turn lane, coming toward us.  After the bus past us, we heard a horrible CRUNCH, and then the sound of metal sliding on pavement.  We stopped and turned around to see a scooter bike lying on its side in the middle of the intersect.  We went back to see if we could help in any way.  The female motorist was lying on her back and completely immobile.  The bus had come to a complete stop and was right next to the woman.  She was very fortunate that she didn’t hit the bus head-on when she swerved around the K-truck.  She had a knot under her eye and a giant gash on her forehead where bone was visible.  We stood and directed traffic around her while we waited for the police and ambulance to show up.  Fortunately, she started coming around when the ambulance showed up to put her on a back board.  After that gruesome scene, I’m resolved to be the strange guy around town who rides with a helmet on.

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>