Monday, 10 February 2014

Rant No. 10: Police.

I got knocked off my bike by a car one evening. It wasn’t late, I hadn’t been drinking.

At a corner, I signalled left, and turned when the light was on green. A car hit right into the back of me, sending me flying into the air. I landed smack bang on my bum on the hard concrete.

After that it was a bit of a blur, I was in shock. Someone came and helped me off the road; someone else put my bike on the pavement. Someone called for an ambulance. The police came and talked to the driver.

The ambulance “Feuerwehr” men were really nice and comforting, and reassured me on the way to the hospital. But at the hospital in A&E, it was a drunken man to the left, and an over-friendly Turkish guy to my right. We were all in for a bit of a wait.

Eventually I was seen, x-rayed and given painkillers. Meanwhile, the police came to talk to me. I explained what had happened and they asked me to draw it on a scribble. Where I was, the position of the car. The lights. Did I signal? Had I looked behind? Was it raining?

I answered, and eventually they said that actually I was at fault, because in turning, I had taken the car’s right of way. Even though he had come into my back, which at least in the UK is their wrong.

So, never mind that I was the one in hospital, that I’d been hurt, it was my fault that he didn’t see me. Luckily for me there had been no damage to the car because that would have been my fault too!

3 months later, when the incident had become just a funny anecdote of , “because it’s Germany”, I arrived home to find a letter from the police. After deciphering the German – it seemed that for the pleasure of being hit by a car and knocked off my bike, I had to pay 35€.

There wasn’t really anything that needed to be paid for, except police time, which I believe I have paid more than enough tax for already. But apparently, so the letter said, I should think myself lucky because they had charged me a bit less, as I had been hurt by the accident. If the car been damaged, I would have had to pay for that too.

Well, that’s brilliant, mate. Thanks a lot.

1 comment:

  1. I was biking while noticeably pregnant on kottbusser brüke (there is a bike lane on the street there but it is scary). I was going slowly and yielding to pedestrians. Meanwhile a man with a kid on his bike went past really fast, aggressively ringing at pedestrians. There were police on the bridge and which biker do you think they stopped? Me, of course. When I asked why they'd stopped me and not the speeding guy, they said, because he has a kid and is allowed to bike on the sidewalk. I pointed to my belly and said "kind." As the policewoman started to lecture me, I got back on my bike and biked slowly away.