Playing chicken with students

Yesterday I played chicken and lost. If you don’t know what “chicken” is, its a game. A game in which two drivers are heading towards each other in a car. Both drivers want to keep their trajectory and not “chicken” out by swerving to avoid the other. Its a game of wills.

I should preface this all by saying that in Japan, although there are very clear bike laws, they are generally ignored by everyone. Bikes are meant to be on the left side of the road, riding with traffic, not against. However, I’ve witnessed bikers riding toward traffic and a bus had to swerve to avoid crushing said person.

The gray area lies with the sidewalks. In Arizona, the rules are the same. If you are going the wrong way, even on the sidewalk, you can still get a ticket. When I asked a local what was the deal with the bike laws, I was told that they exist but if there are not police there to enforce the laws then people did whatever. Some times they get caught but mostly they’re left alone.

Students, mostly, have this annoying knack for riding three abreast on the sidewalk! You look up and all of a sudden there is a wall of teenagers coming toward you. IF you’re brave, you might ring your bell at them and they’ll move. If you’re smarter, you might stop and wait for them to pass. But if you’re the super OG trillest, me, you play chicken.

Yesterday morning, I was riding my bike to work, per usual. Bumping Covenant Worship’s “Take Heart” semi loudly. I was cruising. Bopping my head and everything. I was pumped to start Monday with a bang. HA! I was on the sidewalk, around the corner from my school when I noticed three students were riding toward me. The one on the far right moved like he was going to allow me to pass between them. I was speeding up to go through the crack in the wall. Then all of a sudden, he changed his mind and came back and as quickly as this game of chicken began it ended. We collided. He’d crashed into my left side. My left hand was on the brake and it was smashed on impact. My pinky and ring finger were swelling quickly and red.

That kid looked so scared. His eyes were huge. I realized that I couldn’t hear what he said and I calmly took out my earphones and asked “daijoubu desu ka?” (Are you ok?). Once I confirmed that he was fine, I rode away. My hand hurt but I thanked the Lord that it wasn’t worse. When I got to my school, the nurse hooked me up with this sweet icy bandage that felt marvelous. She also provided me with an ice pack.

My sissy thinks its time that I bought a car. Three crashes later and now I think I agree. The only problem is that I love riding my bike. We will see.

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