In front of the kids' school today at pick-up time, a motorcyclist passed the line of cars waiting to enter the school. I saw him pass my car and a moment later watched as he crashed his motorcycle right at the entrance of the school. The horrible part of the accident was that he wasn't wearing a helmet and I saw him hit the ground without it. People came running from their cars to him and someone rolled him onto his back and I think shouted to him to see if he was OK.
I think apart from how upsetting it was to see the accident, what really struck me was how everyone got involved. People here have not been scarred by lawsuits here like in the U.S. There isn't a fear that someone trying to help would be sued. This is also not a country where ambulances are much in use; people scoop up strangers in their cars and drive them to the hospital after an accident. The emergency number doesn't reach anyone, from what I hear. And I have seen ambulances, but there aren't many, and I wouldn't imagine many people here could afford to use one.
It was a relief to see him move after the accident, though it was really serious and he was still lying there when I left the school with my kids (the school nurse and doctor were both with him). Many people are killed here in motorcycle and car accidents in part because driving is less regulated, and in part because most people don't wear seat belts or helmets.
It was an intense afternoon for the whole school. All of the parents and students leaving had to pass by the scene. It strikes me that children are less sheltered here from violence just as they are less sheltered from everything.