When you live in a country that relies so heavily on bicycles for transportation, you start learning to ride pretty crazy. Weaving in and out of traffic, jumping up and down from curbs, blowing through the occasional red light…you know, the usual. It can actually be quite fun at times – like slaloming.
But sometimes I forget that I’m riding dangerously at all, until someone who’s not accustomed to the daily insanity comes to visit and points it out. “I can’t believe you’ve never been in an accident!” was my dad’s reaction when he saw how I manipulated my way through the bumper-to-bumper traffic jams on Shijo Doori in the heart of Downtown, Kyoto.
But he was right – I hadn’t. At least not with a car. Until last Friday.
I was running a couple of minutes late in the morning so instead of making breakfast as usual I popped into McDonald’s (::shame::) for some take-out. I tossed it in my bike’s shopping basket and took off through the small backstreets between Marutamachi and Oike doori. It looked like I’d make it right on time. Until a car jumped out in front of me and I smashed right into its driver-side door.
Miraculously the car was left with little more than a tiny scratch, and after verifying that I was OK the driver apologized politely before continuing on his way. This was not the reaction I expected considering I was the one who failed to stop at the intersection while riding the wrong way on a one-way street.
Unfortunately the encounter did result in the crumpling of my bike’s basket…along with the super-sized orange juice inside.
Damn. Looks like breakfast would be one soggy McGriddle for me.