The traffic light was red. Bloody, bright, shiny, unmistakable-in-the-evening-darkness red. And there was more than one of them. There were four, actually. Two on the overhead cross beams, and two on each of the posts to the side of the road. I was on the extreme right of the 4-lanes motorway. First row. Like VIP seats in theatre, except that the only privilege you get here is to drive off first when the lights turn green. Across the road, a zebra-patterned pedestrian walkway extended to my left all the way up to the labor accommodations off the Dubai Dry Docks. The light then turned green. I rolled forward, doing hardly 10 KPH for the first few meters. A guy on a bicycle barged in front me and along the zebra line, he earned himself few angry honks. I saw him reach the other bank safely. When I turned my sight to the road ahead, I was stunned to see another fellow on a bicycle right in the middle of the fucking lane in front of me. Fortunately, the brake pads had only been replaced recently. I performed what a car mechanic ominously calls a ‘dead brake’. The car came to a halt less than a meter after the moment the brake was applied. However, within the range of this 100 CM the bicycle got nailed right in the ass. The guy lunged forward and hit the ground somewhere ahead. I wasn’t moving, but I still couldn’t see him. He fell somewhere in the vision field that is obscured by the hood of the car. Then I saw him lunging sideways to the left, and it occurred to me that he might have been attempting to end his life. Only to discover that he’s desperately trying to retrieve a plastic bag that had the logo of a Filipino restaurant in prints. The bag was flung from his little trunk when my bumper hit his rear wheel. He managed to get the bag eventually and straighten up on the sidewalk to inspect himself. A wiry Filipino guy, probably a crewmember on some ship moored in the port. He looked all right, although I could see a bruise on his elbow. I yelled at him asking if he was OK, and he gave me the thump up. By now the gang of drivers behind me in the lane had grown impatient and started flashing and honking. I paused a little and then drove forward.
It occurred to me later that my hitting him at a low speed had saved his scrawny ass from getting run over further into the road.