Having recently purchased a two-wheeler to commute, I can’t help but write about the agony that is to travel on a motorbike in Bangalore. Here you go, therefore: The many side-effects of switching to from travelling by public transport to your own two-wheeler
- You’ll miss out on your Tweeting/reading/WhatsApp/blogging or on anything-productive-you-used-to-do-on-your-commute time
— Deepti Varma (@Sai_Deep) June 18, 2014
- “Potholes” will become a much-used word in your vocab.
- In fact, potholes will replace any other monster you’ve ever dreaded in your life.
- You’ll know you cannot drive behind a car because it will escape those craters in the road while you might end up bruised with your bike in them.
- You’ll know you cannot drive behind BMTC buses or autoricks. For multiple reasons. They’ll turn without showing the indicator light. Yet again, they will drive “over” the potholes but you won’t be able to.
- You’ll know you cannot drive on the left side because buses will regularly stop along.
- You’ll know you cannot even drive on the right side peacefully because racing cars would honk to ask for way.
- You’ll feel life stopping and punching people who come riding along from the other side on a one-way road.
- You’ll know to drive on the most dangerous place left – on the middle of the road – elbowing your vehicle every darn moment to simply let yourself move forward in whatever way.
- You’ll start cursing. (See above point.)
- You’ll develop a knack to spot vehicles whose brake lights don’t function and discerningly avoid riding behind them.
- You’ll realise that the expenses don’t just stop at the EMIs for the bike. You have to shell out for the regular servicing, occasional denting and a host of other accessories for the bike. Not to forget for the ever-rising cost of fuel.
- You’ll get used to carrying a heck lot of “extra” stuff including the requisite helmet, scarf, wind cheater, bike gloves, et al – on every single ride.
- A flat tyre becomes your worst nightmare come true. Picture a punctured tyre with no mechanic in sight for at least a kilometer.
— Deepti Varma (@Sai_Deep) June 23, 2014
- You’ll switch to driving at 0km/hr to 20km/hr to 40km/hr within minutes. For only a few minutes though – because you will get another “signal stop” anyway.
- You’ll start to wonder whether getting one’s own two-wheeler actually served any purpose at all! And may experience “public transport withdrawal symptoms” such as going ‘Awww…that’s my bus, I used to travel in 13c/210D/27E/whatever” on spotting the BMTC bus with “your” number.
- You’ll start dreading the rains because of the traffic snarls that follow even a mild shower in the city.
- Alternately, you’ll also start panicking from the thoughts of having to drive at 37°C.
- You’ll start spotting roads with missing signs.
- In case you take a wrong route -you’ll be on a look out for the next u-turn, which is mostly no-where less than one to two kilometers ahead.
- You’ll swish to make your way out of a traffic jam (two wheelers have that advantage over four-wheelers). And then wonder what was the traffic jam all about?!
- You’ll realise the decision to own a two-wheeler is as tricky as for couples to decide whether to have a baby. You can’t wait to have one but then the happiness of getting one is short-lived, both grow older quicker than expected and come with their own set of responsibility and demand a lot of care.
- You’ll learn how to drive s-l-o-w. It’s the fine art of balancing yourself on the bike with your feet just above the ground while moving one inch every two minutes. This expertise also requires you to decide in between whether you should turn off the engine and just glide down.
- You’ll meet some good Samaritans every once a while who’d give you way, wait for an ambulance to pass and obey traffic rules.
- You’ll get used to some real multi-tasking as you decide whether to apply brakes, honk, bypass that pothole, drive over that manhole, see vehicles pulling over in the rear mirror AND watch out for people coming out from the wrong direction.
- You’ll find yourself (as well as others) reacting to with the ubiquitous “Yenaa???” (what?) hand gesture to people flouting traffic rules.
- You’ll start complaining about back aches that come with extended hours of riding.
- You’ll now pretty-much know what riding in the Well of Death must be like.
- You’ll know the best drivers are those who show empathy towards fellow drivers.
- You’ll be done with spotting cute guys (or gals) or even interesting billboards around, for what that matter. Because, all your focus will be on the road.
- You’ll start brainstorming (amongst other things, at times on how the traffic in the city can be made better) – in the ample time you have at your disposal during road blocks.
- You’ll truly, madly, deeply wish your bike had real fold-able wings which come out with a switch and you simply fly over all the congestion ahead of you to reach your place. Wow!
- Your next thought is – wait, but then what if ALL the bikes could do that? There would be traffic bottlenecks even in the atmosphere!
- You’ll soon be diagnosed with acute “parking woes” or with a “parking phobia” of not finding a spot to park in vicinity.
- You’ll want to tell, with all due respect, to the pedestrians to use the footpath (wherever available). It goes without saying. that riding your two-wheeler on the footpath is totally unacceptable.
- You’ll realize how the roads are designed perfectly. For accidents, of course.
- Your definition of happiness will start implying no traffic snarls,all green signals along the way and a full tank. Yeah!
All said and done, I love riding. And I love Bangalore. And there’s no other place (in India at least!) that I’ll rather ride than Bangalore. The efforts of the Bangalore Traffic Police to regulate the traffic are undoubtedly commendable. It remains up to us, the drivers and riders, to respect the rules.
Updating the list following Abhijit’s very valid comment:
- Lack of street-lights is one thing and then people beaming blinding head lamps is another story. You’ll wonder if there is any explanation as to why can people NOT use the dipper?
PS: Did you know? You can post complaints about civic issues in Bangalore here 🙂