My son is a soft road user, someone who walks or cycles, and as such banged straight into the back of a really smart car. I receive a rather irate phone call in French, I jump in my car and race there, I realise I forgot to ask if he was ok and how ok!
The driver does not look impressed, tells me someone phoned the police because there was a wounded person. A slight lip bleed and a shaken kid looks at me, embarrassed, angry – all of these things at once. A friendly policeman arrives, takes a statement, tells me he needs to see us all together at home, when is convenient, can he take the bicycle home for me, which incidentally is completely intact apart from the light I fitted the previous day.
I think the hard road user was driving too fast and had to break at one of these ridiculous blocks they narrow the road down with to slow down traffic, that is the sole and only purpose of these poles and flowerpots, speed humps etc. The soft road user says a tractor came past and he was distracted, couldn’t brake fast enough and that was that, four stitches later…
The end result is that the driver has to pay the excess on the doctor’s visit and we get to pay the excess on his car repairs.
Very nice for us, and as a hard road user, you need to watch your step because pedesrains cross the road with impunity, or hang around the zebra crossing to see how irate you can get while you wait and they decide whether they do want to get to the other side or not! Then I haven’t even started on delivery vehicles, service vehicles, labourers etc. I think I have vented some of my impatience elsewhere, let’s just say that I have learnt a lot about African time in Europe, of course for the purists, it’s not African time like being on holiday in Malawi: where you’re in some teeny village sitting on a dusty sidewalk, fed-up waiting for the bus and decide to move from the bus stop to the pub across the road with binoculars. Eventually we find out that the bus would only be along the next day – so that was time well spent, no rising blood pressure, late for work scenarios, just oh well, better find a place to sleep after ordering another beer!