Cyclists like these car cleaners are commonplace all over Bahrain – inviting trouble on the roads
I came across a gut-wrenching scene as we drove out to run some errands this afternoon. A cyclist had just been knocked over by a car and lay motionless on the side of the busy road while another man, possibly his companion on another bicycle, wailed hysterically.
Also at the scene was a police officer and a woman in white uniform, who appeared to be a nurse, as were some onlookers who had stopped.
My first reaction was to call 999 which I did but they said they were already aware of the incident. Help was on its way so we left the scene.
What else could we do? Just being part of the already-swelling crowd would only hinder any rescue efforts.
As we drove off with a lump in our throats, we wondered who the man was, his nationality and his work. Who was the man with him? His brother, friend, companion, mate, co-worker?
How seriously was the man hurt? Would he recover? Was he already dead? How much did he earn? How many members of his family does he provide for? Was he the sole breadwinner?
All these thoughts came into our minds as we silently drove away.
Sadly, riding a bicycle or any other two-wheeler for that matter, is not really the done thing in this part of the world. Fast , flashy cars, mostly arrogant and reckless drivers with monstrous attitudes make sure these roads are not meant for those on two wheels.
I also especially blame the cyclists who have scant regard for rules, do not follow safety instructions and are reckless. They are not aware what could happen to them if they were not careful.
The traffic police has strict guidelines in place for motorised two-wheelers but none for cyclists. And since most are low-paid workers – store delivery men, car cleaners, domestic hep or even labourers, it becomes almost impossible to educate them.
The cost of such mishaps is phenomenal – in terms of the affect on their families who often depend on their earnings.
As we drove back, there were a few policemen at the scene and so was the shattered bicycle but no sign of the two men. I did enquire later in the evening from a journalist friend whether she knew anything. She didn’t.
Was that a sign the man was all right, after all? Because if that wasn’t so, surely the police would have Tweeted about it! Hope that is the case.