Monday, December 19, 2011

Highway Accident-Witness Account

Fortunately I haven’t witnessed many accidents in life. Recently got to witness the aftermath of one and here’s a brief account of the same.

Prologue
On Day 2 of Tour of Nilgiris, we were at a support station near Hole Narasi Pura (A support station is where riders can relax, refresh and take basic medical/mechanical help before they proceed). Most of the riders had crossed the support station support staff were in relaxed mood and we were waiting for the rest. A lady was performing winnowing (technique of separating food grain and its leaves/enclosure, using the power of wind) on the highway and vehicles were zipping around on the state highway. We tested the BSA Montra, took some group pics and were preparing for packup (of refreshment materials)

The Accident
Suddenly something happened and we looked at the direction from where the sound came from. A group had formed on the road and apparently there has been an accident. A speeding biker had collided with a cow that was crossing the road and was lying on the road trying to recover. TFN support team had first aid kit and we rushed to his rescue. His arm was bleeding and bent, leg had minor injuries.


I consciously didn’t click the image of his injured hand and clicked only after the hand was covered in bandage. He was wearing a helmet, which saved his head from any possible injuries. A call was made to 108 ambulance. The rider was able to recover from his shock and utter a few words. He was from a nearby village. Someone took his mobile and called his friends. Few others took responsibility of ensuring smooth vehicle movement and also ask people to go back so that victim can get fresh air.
He was slowly taken to the road side and was given Tropicana guava juice. Someone who were passing by in a car offered to take him to hospital, as Ambulance hasn’t arrived yet. But others recommended waiting for ambulance as improper posture can damage the bones further. Stretcher is the best option. Surprisingly the 108 ambulance arrived within next few minutes. The rider and his friend were made to sit in the ambulance and dispatched to nearby hospital.

His bike with its mangled front end was moved to the roadside. Most of the headlight, speedo console and front facia is gone. Despite having best of the safety feature such as disc brakes, the rider couldn’t stop it in time to avert a collision.
Once the rider is sent away in the ambulance, everyone’s attention turned towards the cow, which had decided to cross the road and came in the way of speeding biker. It stood there frightened, watching all the drama unfolding on the road. The cow had its share of injuries-minor drops of blood oozing from its legs, couple of bruises on the body. Nothing critical. Someone told that cow had rolled twice on the road after the impact. It stood there with fear. It didn’t retaliate or run away when we went near, but we were afraid to go too close. Someone sprayed a bit of painkiller on the wound, while others suggested it is a bad idea as painkiller had alcohonic elements and the wound is minimal and will heal naturally in few days. Cow’s owner came and walked it away slowly. I patted it a bit.
Epilogue

So whose fault was it? The bikers? For speeding? If he is expected to crawl at 40kmph then what is the point of having highway? His bike had good brakes but he couldn’t stop in time. May be the cow moved too quickly or the rider had his focus diluted because of his earphone- was he speaking to someone or listening to music? I don’t know. I guess not being able to predict the unpredictable was an error, but there’s only so much one can predict and be prepared for.

Is it cow’s fault? Before the road was built it used to move around freely. Now that a highway is passing through its village, it is expected to risk its life while crossing the road. Is it fair?

What is the solution? Raise barricade all along the highway? Then villagers will have to walk several miles just to cross the road- they’d prefer jumping over the barricade instead.

Build lot of speedbreakers and ask drivers to go dead slow? They why build highway and collect toll?

I think sensible driving is the best solution. Good drivers just drive. What are your thoughts?

Similar: KSRTC bus accident * Predict trajectory

9 comments:

magiceye said...

cattle crossing is a menace on indian highways. the onus of safe crossing of cattle lies on the owners.

Priya said...

Hi Shrinidhi,
Cows crossing the highway at a leisurely pace is a common menace. We once had the window on the passenger side totally shattered when a cow darted across the road and hit the rearview mirror with its horn. We had to swerve to avoid hitting it and resulted in crashing the window. Good to hear both had only minor injuries.

Regards, Priya
http://aalayamkanden.blogspot.com

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Deepak: Does that mean cows should always be tied with a rope and kept away from highways?. They are often left on their own

Priya:
thanks for sharing your experience

DeEpAK KaRtHiK (420) said...

Cattle are great troubles (when they are on roads):(
you can try forensic photographer, you have somehow managed to get that wounds of cow :) j4f !
http://www.deepakkarthikspeaks.blogspot.com/

Sagar Chitre said...

Its sad but unavoidable, Highways are built to bypass the villages and towns but eventually people settle near highways as it becomes their source of income, tea stalls, dhabas, small shops etc. and with people comes their cattle. Its not a question of blaming the cow or the rider, I feel neither was at fault it was just an unfortunate accident, fortunately no life was lost.

Arpit said...

Wonderful to see that someone is actually interested to write about this kind of stuff...

Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury said...

The bane of all Indian roads! Interesting post

Shrinidhi Hande said...

Deepak: LOL

Sagar: Yes

Arpit: :)

Maintreyee: Thanks

aviation accident lawyer said...

I think these accidents are avoidable if only the cow owners put fences around their property so that their cows will not roam around. Or they can tie their cows to the trees for the meantime.

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