Monday, October 10, 2016

Bike Accident in Philippines

Motorcycle trip to town (Cebu, 35km away) today. Greg noticed his front tire needed air, so we drove kinda on the shoulder at about 40 kph. Instead of our usual 60kph, dodging tricycles and jeepney/minivans.

We got about 11 kilometers away. Greg noticed a gas station on the left so slowed to make a left turn into it. A couple on small bike had deciced we were too slow so was in the process of passing me (over-taking they say) and didn't notice Greg slowing to turn. He had his signal on and slowed enough to put a foot down when they hit his rear tire and lost control. Crash! Including faceplant and really messed up little finger. No helmet, shoes, gloves, long pants, jackets or brains, or even attention. He was talking to his wife/other on the back when he hit Greg's tire. He first thought about passing in the on-coming traffic lane, then changed his mind to go behind him. Indecision is a bitch. The highways are full of flat squirrels!

Greg pulled on into the station, I pulled on to the right side a while then into the station too. The other guy sat in the street crying and his wife hugging him and crying too till the police and the ambulance came. He did have road rash around his eye, arm and his little finger looked bad. His bike was not very damaged, only cosmetic and the mirror. After a while more telling their story in filipino, they were off in the ambulance to see about his hang nail.

The police asked Greg to follow them to the station in Compestella. I followed too. They took a statement and the said to wait. The chief sat with his phone and dual ear-phones on the whole time, only taking them out to talk to another officer in Filipino occasionally. Sometimes talking to us and sometimes to the mic on the headset. He did come out and inspect the bikes and asked how it happened. He pointed out the scuff mark on Greg's rear finder as the only place the other bike had hit. From behind. We talked about the lack of training and following of traffic rules here some.

After an hour or so I got tried and asked if there was something I could do. "No, go on." was all I got. So I went on to town and did the shopping Greg and I had planned. He was released, without drivers license a couple hours later.

I went ahead and shopped for both of us and then started home. After I passed Compestella, two of the first officers, on a bike started to pass and recognized me. I stopped and waved them over to ask about Greg. But they asked first about his phone number. Seems they neglected to get it. Then they asked me to call him and request he return to the station for the investigation, as the 'victim' had been released from the hospital and was at the police office.

I headed on toward home, but when I saw Greg, he asked if I would come back to the police office, as a witness for his side. I had Big Mac's for friends (that haven't learned that McDonald's will make you fat) getting cold, but I turned around and went back with Greg.

The other guy, the 'victim', had brought his English speaking daughter who pretended to know all about the accident. The chief told her several times to stop talking and sit, as she wasn't a witness. The victim did a good act of drugged and in pain. I noticed the officer also had a large scar on his forehead from a past accident, most likely on a bike.

He drew chalk marks on his desk describing the hyway. Then produced two toy cars and two motorcycles and asked each of us to show the accident. Of course Greg and I had one version, but they had a different one. Their's did not match the damage to the bikes though. After an hour of this we went outside, positioned the bikes in the parking lot and went through it again. It was obvious the chief favored Greg's story. Back inside he lectured the victim about how one is supposed to make a left turn across the traffic and what the vehicles behind are supposed to do, about 10 times. His wife still didn't get it.

Finally he got out the drivers licenses and pushed them across the desk. Then he asked about the hospital costs. They said more than 10,000 pesos, but couldn't produce a receipt. He finally suggested Greg offer 4000P even though he was not at fault. Greg agreed. But he only had 3000. Young daughter piped up with "His friend should loan the rest."

I said "Hell no! You follow too close, don't wear the required helmet, shoes, etc don't pay attention and rear-end someone, get hurt, YOU are liable for the damages!" The chief told me to loan Greg the money. OK. We left.

All finished, no future obligations, the officers remember my name... Probably a good thing.

The foreigner has money and will always pay, even when right. Just less than $100 USD, and no damage to the bike, but ruined a shopping day in the big city. I have been wishing for a dash cam. It would have come in handy today, if I had looked the right direction at the right time. But it might have shown how quickly Greg changed his mind about turning left at the station too.

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