Riding a motorcycle on the PIE during the evening rush hour is an experience in craziness. The expressway is crowded, filled with suburban commuters as well as individuals heading back to Malaysia over the 1st link. From my experience, it is the motorcycles heading to Malaysia that create the unusual buzz. Literally, the noise of the likely illegal pipes mimics the sounds of an angry bumblebee.
It is an experience one can have any rush hour but it is especially intense on Friday. Workers are tired, focused, and doing their best to get home in a hurry. They are pushing their small bikes to the limits, riding between every lane that is big enough for them to squeeze through. They know that their handlebars are the maximum width. Just wider than the largest rider’s waist, the handlebars are an instant answer to the question of “if” the bike will fit through the opening between the larger vehicles.
It is chaos. Usually nobody gets hurt. The exceptions do not seem to deter those that remain behind.
I am struck by how drivers react. There are two extremes. One behaves as if the riders are not there. It is almost as if they things cars are divinity and the bikes are nothingness. I can hear the observer; “you, God, break out laughing; you treat the godless nations like jokes.” (Psalm 59.8) The other drives in fear, endangering themselves and others trying to avoid anywhere near anyone on a motorcycle.
There is obvious danger in either. Ignore bikes at your own risk. They are present. They are near. They are moving at speed. Contact is possible at any moment even with the best of intentions. At the same time, giving bikes permission to do whatever they choose is an open invitation to craziness. Emboldened, the speeds and risk taking increase. Chaos reigns.
Three mantras for rush hour; be aware, be prepared, and be yourself. One must drive and be what you are – a car, a motorcycle or a truck. Chaos does not need to be a roadblock to living.