Thursday, April 26, 2007

A Little Freaked Out

This morning looked to be a beautiful day. On a whim I decided it would be a good day to renew my residency visa, so I drove to the police station. I arrived about 8:15. The office opened at 8. They were on number 54. I drew number 76. There was one window open. It looked to be a long wait. At nine, another window opened, and things started moving. I ended up at work around 10am.

I left work around the usual time, and drove home. The weather was amazing--- warm, sunny. Everyone was out. I regretted driving, but it was just as well-- we had a meeting at the church to discuss Julian's upcoming baptism at 5:30. Things would be a little rushed. As Lise finished preparing dinner, I glanced at an article in the paper about bicycle helmets, accidents, and bike fatalities. Since 2004, there had been only one fatality in southern Rogaland. I mentioned that fact to Lise with a twinge of sadness-- we knew who he was: the father of a close friend who was killed soon after we moved to Norway. Still, there was something reassuring about the rarity of serious bike accidents.

Later that evening, Lise came downstairs after reading the news on the internet, and said something about how that one fatality was now two. In today's online local news was the story of two women in a car, chased by police, who struck two women biking-- killing one of them. The accident occurred around 3:30pm. What sickened us both is that is the route I take to and from work. That is a road Lise walks Julian. It is a road that I see full of kids walking and biking to school every morning--- a road where through motorized traffic is forbidden-- although during rush hour it can be well-traveled with little consequence. It was a head-on collision-- another unexpected element to the tragedy.

I don't regard biking around here as a particularly dangerous activity, but I guess that all bets are off if there is a police chase. In some regards, it is like being struck by lightening. My only wish is that the criminal justice system were more focused on punishment for these sorts of crimes. Norway tends to be quite soft on crime. It truly was a good day not to bike home from work.

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