Mumbai’s Idiot Scooterists and Bikers

I have written about this earlier, but four incidents this week pretty much show how we have completely lost control over two-wheelers and their riders in this city.

A dental surgeon friend of mine was crossing the road on a red traffic signal near Capitol cinema in Girgaum. Suddenly from nowhere a scooter came in front of him, startling him and making him stop in the middle of the road. The scooter had to stop as well. My friend asked him why he was breaking the light. The idiot scooterist told him, “Uncle, what world are you living in? Who bothers about traffic signals these days?” and immediately sped away, leaving my 50-year plus old friend speechless…and angry at his inability to do anything about this.

I was in a car going to the airport. We took a left at the Sion Hospital signal going towards Dharavi, with Sion Hospital to my right. Suddenly, a doctor on a scooter, with a labcoat and a stethoscope around his neck, mindlessly came in from the opposite direction. He had presumably come out from the Dharavi-side (morgue-side) gate and probably wanted to go to the doctor quarters on the other side of the road. Normally, to do that, you have to either make a U-turn at the signal and double back or go from Bhaudaji road through a side lane. This idiot doctor was traveling in the wrong direction, in the middle of fast-moving traffic, the road choc-a-bloc with cars going towards Dharavi, not bothered, not caring…either for his own life, or for the trouble he would cause someone else, if he were run down.

I was in Lower Parel. I entered Ganpatrao Kadam Marg, which is the road that connects Worli Naka to Tulsi Pipe. It is really just a two-lane road with slow moving constant traffic. The vehicles on the opposite side had stopped at the Peninsula signal. Suddenly two bikers broke off and decided to ride down our side of the road uncaring about the oncoming traffic. The car driver in front of me refused to move to his left to accommodate these idiots and the bikers had to suddenly break hard and stop to avoid a collision. The first biker got down and started shouting at the car driver, but other drivers and passersby piled on to him instead and started giving him such a piece of their mind that he immediately got onto his bike and sped away in the direction from which he had come. Thank God for small mercies!

The lane from King’s Circle to Don Bosco that has Khalsa College on its right, is one-way towards Don Bosco and has been so for the past 20 years and more. This one-way rule was rarely flouted…and now is rarely followed mainly because of some idiot, bike-riding Khalsa college students. During college hours, they are constantly speeding up and down on this 50 meters stretch hoping probably to impress the girls on the pavements. Two days ago, because of a car parked on the left, there was no space between my car and the pavement on the right…suddenly a biker appeared in front of me, went to my left and sped on, just when I was about to take a left turn. A second prior and I would have banged into him…but clearly he just didn’t value his own life.

The eternal cynic, I already believe it’s too late. And perhaps the only thing to do is to apply lignocaine all over our bodies and accept the new reality.

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