If you are a cyclist in Delhi, the first lesson you learn is that you are responsible for your own safety. Bicyclists are so beneath motorists’ notice in this city that they are nearly invisible—unless they are hit by one. As I discovered the other day when a car suddenly pulled out of a side lane and stopped right in front of my bike. Shaken and badly bruised, I picked myself and my cycle up, ruefully examining its bent wheel. But if I expected sympathy or apology from the motorist, whose fault this entire episode was, I was disabused of the notion fast. Not only did the man start raining abuses on me, he departed screaming, "You bloody cyclists make life impossible for us!"
Bloody cyclists indeed. There is no place for a cyclist on a road where hurtling Bluelines compete with each other for every inch of available space or autorickshaws snake dangerously in and out of lanes. No car will ever slow down for a cyclist to change lanes safely. And there is always a lot of angry honking behind a cyclist from impatient drivers.