This being the first major accident to my bike, i was sure i could get a decent claim from the insurance and did not loose my cool. Me and my friend lifted the bike to see the damage. The petrol tank and the doom were badly damaged. Tail light area has been totally wiped off. And the handle bar was bent. Not sure about the fork.
After seeing the condition of the bike, we went to see the other bikes. Other bikes did not suffer the same fate. All of them lost their tail lamps though. But the car suffered a major damage. The left side of the bumper was badly damaged.
Why did the auto driver speed?
As per his statement, he was late to pickup school children. He wasn't speeding much, but the cycle fellow who crossed the road in the wrong time confused him. He tried to avoid the cycle(which he did not!), he changed the lane and throttled his way through the parked vehicles.
Session with Police
We were left with no option but to lodge a police complaint. The Gym officials filed a complaint and the police officials came after 20 minutes to the spot. They did their usual inquiry with the concern people and asked us to come to the station to file a written complaint with the required documents(RC book, Insurance and License) and their photo copies.
We, with the documents, went to the police station by 10.00 am. The police station was indescribable. It was worse than it looked in the Tamil movies. It was no better than any-other government office, with an exception of jail cells with prisoners in it.
Sub Inspector registered a case and filed a FIR(First Information Report) by 10.45 am. FIR in two and a half hours is rapid fast in Indian terms! We were actually happy that we could get the FIR in such a short time frame. But the actual problem started only after the FIR is filed. The SI wanted photo copies of the FIR for each one of us so that he can personally seal and sign it. Before heading out to take the copies, he handed us another FIR report, of different accident and wanted photo copies of this document too! They always forget that they are government servants and make people their servants!
Grudgingly me along with my friend(Muthu, who accompanied me) went to the nearest shop(around half a mile away from the police station). We had a light breakfast while the copies were getting ready and headed back to the station.
Session in RTO
The head Constable now wanted us to be in the RTO office with our vehicles by 1pm so that the RT Officer would inspect the damages. We initially thought its a 10 minutes work(as claimed by the constable) and went there well in advance by 12.30pm. The Constable told he would be there before we reach the place but he was nowhere to be seen. He had given us his mobile number and we called him every 15 minutes to pressure him come to the Office. But the trick did not affect him even a bit. He reached the RTO by 2.30pm. We were already furious.
I went to him and asked what the hell took him this long....instead of answering me, he handed me a form and asked for 10 photo copies of the same. I was already furious after waiting this long for this man to show up and now he coolly asks for 10 copies of form for 3 of us! After giving him a cold stare, i grudgingly went to the nearest shop to take the photo copies. After bringing him the photo copies, he asked me to fill the form myself(it was suppose to be filled by the SI..not even by the constable). I filled the form for myself and the others who came along with me. He had a official government seal with him. He stamped the forms and signed it himself(again, suppose to be signed by the SI).
Now its our turn to wait for the RTO! We actually thought we were waiting for the RTO for him to inspect the damages. Only after waiting for an hour or so, the constable told we were waiting for a brake inspection. Why the hell do they need a brake inspection for a bike that's been in an accident when parked??!! The constable told its the procedure and we had no option but to wait for the punctual RTO to come and inspect the vehicles! By waiting in the RTO office, i mean, waiting in the road. We were not allowed to move away either, because, if the RTO comes while we were away, he will not give us a second chance that day. We will have to come again another day to get the clearance! By 3.45pm the car owner got really pissed and left the place after giving nice dose to the constable.
The RTO came by 4.00pm and started doing his job right away. His top priorities were the cars and there was a C-Class Benz and a Honda city parked for inspection. We meanwhile called the car owner and asked him to come right away. But for his bad luck, he came 10 minutes late and he was asked to come again today(27/01/09)!
He inspected my bike. It took less than 3 minutes for him to see the damages, collect the documents and check the brake. He test drives only cars. Bikes are not his interest. So we had to drive the bike and show him the brakes are fine! For a 3 minutes job, i had to wait for nearly 5 hours staring at the open road, shouting at the constable and waiting for this RTO.
Why did the constable wait along with us?
He wanted his share of bribe! He had earlier asked us to pay 200rs each for this work to be done. He already collected the money from the car owner prior to the RTO mess. Now hes due to collect the money from me and the other person. Unfortunately the other person(the Gym manager) had an outdated Insurance document. So he anyway had to pay a hefty fine of 1000rs to the RTO plus this bribe money!
In India, even if you have all your documents and with no fault of yours, you are forced to pay the bribe money for the officials to do their "job". The bribe is the motivation factor for the constable to wait along with us. I finally paid him 50 bucks for no fault of mine. He did not have mind to settle for no less than 100 bucks. He said he need to pay the RTO too. I asked him why the heck should i bother about someone wanting to bribe an irresponsible RTO. And told him i am giving him this 50 bucks compromising my principles. He was not happy at all and left cursing me.
Some positive effects in this day
- If i had been a minute late, i could have been badly hurt by the speeding auto.
- My insurance expires on 24/01/2009 midnight. Technically i am covered by my earlier insurance(though i had renewed it last week itself)
- One big lesson learnt. You dont need an FIR for insurance claim less than 10000Rs.
- Learnt another lesson on tackling such situations. Have enough dough. Have all the documents. Prepare to waste the entire day(and few more hours on the following days till you get the bike back). Finally loose your senses and be patient!
Lesson learnt: If you are to be screwed, you get screwed what so ever!