It is a cold night and a rain attempts to wash the overcrowded streets of Bucharest. A 28-year old young man, highly passionate about riding on two wheels, is on a mission with his police motorcycle.
A construction site manager cannot bear the cold any longer, rushes home and ignores his duty to announce the Traffic Police Department to come and adequately install warnings for the three-metre deep three holes he has made in the middle of the traffic.
A Minister and also Vice-Premier is riding his service car. He does not want to waste any time waiting at traffic stops, so he uses the official convoy because, obviously, there’s nobody to tell him not to.
Things do not happen in slow motion, as they would in a Hollywood flick; they occur fast, terribly fast. Not even after the white big motorcycle disappears completely in one of the holes, not even after the motorcyclist remains inert on the asphalt and his life suddenly comes to an end, does the action freeze. The Vice-Premier’s car slows down a little bit, and then speeds up again, although he is immediately notified about the tragedy.
The medical rescue team comes fast, the rain continues to fall on the pavement, on the policeman’s body, on the vehicle fallen in the hole, people are running all over the place, the rescue team carries the body away, the police investigates, workers appear in a few hours’ time and fill out the holes, the journalists swarm around, authorities make confusing declarations, the opposition speculates the moment. Nobody is staying put. Not even a few days after the accident do things settle down. The funeral convoy passes, the victim ends up in another hole much too soon, motorcyclists are marching, politicians are blaming one another, people want to see heads falling, the motorcyclist’s relatives want justice done, journalists investigate, the Vice-Premier tries to escape the situation, the Prime Minister and the President continue their verbal duel… All the country is furious and demands someone to blame for the death of the young man who was declared as “a casualty on duty” and posthumously advanced for not resisting to higher ranked officers’ whims.
Yet, far from this massive agitation, they are still there, unmoved, never saying a word, never noticed and yet, guilty of this tragedy and of many more that will come. Because everyone knows them. Everyone who has driven at least once in Romania knows in their soul that the first guilty part of the death of the motorcyclist is represented by the traps on the road. Just like a front scattered with mines, well hidden and frequently noticeable just in the last minute, drivers are travelling every day with fear, because it may happen to them to lose their life due to these genuine bombs one may see everywhere. Regardless of whether you drive a truck, a bus, a taxi, a jeep, a small automobile, a bicycle or a motorcycle, your life is constantly jeopardized by a hole, by a pipe, by a crater dug and left behind just like that – as it happened in the present case – by a mistakenly placed border stone, by a column forgotten by workers in the middle of the street, or, simply, by the lack of indicators announcing potential dangers.
Otherwise, anyone who has driven anything on Romanian roads and especially on those in Bucharest feels it deep in his heart that motorcyclist police officer Bogdan Gigina is one of the terribly numerous victims of criminal traffic conditions – literally! – in our country. They jeopardize our life every day, whether we are bicyclists, motorcyclists, car drivers and, yes, even ambassadors, Vice-Premiers or Presidents in their official convoys.
It is easy to ask for resignations. And even if they are a requirement in this case, the true criminals will go unpunished. They are the ones who allow these traps to exist, to have been existed and to keep on existing, the ones who allow roads in Bucharest and all over the country be mined fields for drivers and a graveyard filled with crosses. Because we have 91 persons deceased in traffic accidents per one million inhabitants. Because we are placed second in the chart of EU members states concerning the number of deaths in traffic accidents, according to the European Commission. Because the law against local authorities that allow the existence of these traps in the traffic should stipulate much harsher punishments.
Because resignations come and go, but holes are here to stay.