Leaving Vladivostok this morning we ended up on the crazy busy, gridlocked M60. They’re was no way I was sitting in that again, so I started to filter through. Ken and Chip were with me so I had to keep an eye behind as well as in front – I didn’t want to loose them. I’d stopped for a narrow gap after changing lanes, when I heard a crunch followed by “shit!”.
I looked behind and both bikes were upright, but Chip had caught someone’s bumper with a pannier and took the end cap off. Or the other way round. (He hit the front of the car with the back of his bike, how does that work?). Anyway, a big fat angry Russian appears shouting and waving. Chip had moved his bike, which you’re not supposed to do in an accident in Russia – and that’s what he seemed most upset about.
Chip and Ken pointed to me as their translator, so the guy comes over to shout at me. I calmed him down we did had a quick chat. You have to call the cops in a smash, but eventually I persuaded him not to if we paid for the damage – just as a passing cop car pulled up! Then there was trouble!
Actually there wasn’t at all. At no point did I ever feel threatened, the police guy’s expression when he saw what was going on said it all. Basically, ‘why don’t you all just F off, it’s not worth the paperwork’. He asked if Chip spoke Russian, I said no and that was it – he was ready to walk off.
Dima (the angry fat Russian) had called his garage and said it would be 200 dollars. That’s over 7000 Rubles. I said “That’s 6000 Rubles, OK?”. Chip paid and that was that. I should have said it was 4000. Hindsight eh?
I didn’t take any pictures at the time, which I really regret now – but you never know how that’ll tip things, and at the time it didn’t seem appropriate. It was a great start to the day (well maybe not for Chip), but it left me feeling much more positive about my (or rather our) ability to get out of any situation.