I would have experienced my most meaningful, most fruitful, and most enjoyable life here in Thailand for 9 years if not for what happened to me last month.
On my way to work, I took a motorcycle that was parked near our apartment. Motorcycle drivers usually waited for their passengers here. Whoever was ahead in the queue would get the passenger. That time, a lady driver took her turn. We nearly approached the end of our destination when she overtook several cars with a speed of only 20 kph in order to get ahead by taking the left side of the road where her motorcycle could fit in.
In a flash of a second, a car hit us and we were thrown towards the side of the road. I only knew I was lying down in an awkward position. I could not pull out my left foot stuck on one part of the motorcycle. I had to pull it out off my sandal for I already felt pain on my toes and ankle.
Fortunately it wasn't so serious. I looked for my eyeglasses and I saw them a meter away from me. The bruised knee, elbows, wrist and palms gave me pain. Then I stood up and massaged my aching ankle and toes to feel if they were okay. Fortunately they were okay.
My driver was holding her bended knee moaning in pain and I guess it was broken. Then traffic increased and people came to the rescue. The driver of the car called up an ambulance while I was still in a shock and I thought of going to the hospital for treatment.
At the hospital, they asked me what time the accident happened and where it happened. I went to the emergency room and a nurse treated my bruises. The doctor recommended an x-ray and anti-tetanus injection but I refused for I knew it wasn't that serious. He gave me tablets instead for anti-inflammation and anti-pain. But after four days I still had traumatic pain at the back of my upper legs, upper arms, shoulders, and palms.
So, after recovering from the traumatic experience, I decided to change my residence, to another area, where I need not ride a motorcycle to lessen the danger of having similar or more serious accident.
Before what had happened to me, I already heard about lots of motorcycle accidents. My former student's father was in coma for a week due to a fatal motorcycle accident for not wearing a helmet; my co-teachers husband couldn't walk for a month because of it; my student's mother had black eyes, face, and arms and couldn't report for work for a week; my two students came to school with plaster cast arms, and more. But I was really fortunate to have slight bruises only.
Before when riding motorcycles I would tell drivers to slow down. Some would listen but others would pretend not hearing anything. So the only recourse was to pray for my safety. You see drivers have helmets and passengers don't have. When a motorcycle accident occurs the poor passenger will be prone to a head injury because of the absence of a helmet.
I hope that even in provinces and towns of Thailand there'll be ordinances that require passengers to have helmets too. In downtown Bangkok this is being enforced so I feel secured when riding a motorcycle there.
I just hope that history will not repeat itself for it is indeed psychologically and physically stressful. In my case, I thought I was already okay right after the accident, but when I retired at night and the succeeding days, my muscles, and my whole body ached.
Well, I am not afraid of riding motorcycles again, but I will try to avoid them if I can. "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure".
As I've said, I changed residence that can be reached by foot, a "sung tao" truck, or a taxi. After all, walking is a good exercise, "sung tao" is cheaper, and a taxi is more comfortable, and more secure.