Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Scooters, Bikes and Pedestrians, oh my!

Yesterday was a rainy and grey day here in Maastricht. I had some running around to do in the morning. Groceries, pharmacy and I sent out some resumes. In the afternoons I have been going to the University to meet Nick for lunch and to study in the library. After studying yesterday until about 3pm I decided to head home. It was drizzling but it didn't look like it was going to let up any time soon so I thought I would just tough it out. In Maastricht, cyclists have their own roads complete with stop lights and signage. I'm not really clear on the rules of the roads yet but the cyclists seem to always have the right of way. I made my way across campus and was stopped at a light waiting to cross to get to the path that runs along the river Maas and leads me home. There was a large group of cyclists on the other side of the street chatting away and waiting for the light to turn. My eye was drawn to a cyclist who didn't appear to be with the rest of the group and seemed to be growing impatient with the light and the chatting in the group beside him. He turned in an attempt to take another route and in slow motion I saw an oncoming scooter strike the front tire of the cyclist. Now when you hear scooter you probably think of a slow moving childs toy or at least that is what I thought until I got here. These scooters can really move! They are more like motor bikes. The girl who was driving the scooter flew from the seat and skidded head first along the road way. I rushed to the scene to offer any assistance I could. She was out of it and pretty scraped up and didn't speak english very well but came around by the time the ambulance arrived. The cyclist went unscathed and seemed to be more concerned about the condition of his bike then the girl. It shook me and I felt ill the rest of the night. No one here wears helmets and the roads for the bikes are riddled with pedestrians, people on scooters and cyclists who aren't paying attention. The roads don't seem to be patrolled too heavily by polite (police). I will be extra cautious while riding my bike after witnessing this.
Nick left this morning to infuse a cow with isotope for his study and will be gone for the week so I will be flying solo.

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