Approaching a crosswalk outside a Bangkok hospital on Valentine’s Day, motorcyclist Kunapot Petchbua stopped to let people cross. The bus behind him didn’t.
The former volunteer crossing guard was thrown from the front of his bike. His reward for following traffic rules? A broken back and months of physical therapy.
Kunapot’s girlfriend, Namfon Kerdphon, 27, said that driver of Bus No. 29 Hua Lamphong-Rangsit called to check on him, they’ve heard nothing from the bus operator: No offer to cover medical costs, no apology, nothing.
So she took her case to the media. Meeting with reports on Feb. 19, Namfon showed CCTV footage of the 7 a.m. Feb. 14 accident outside Paolo Hospital Phaholyothin on Phahonyothin Road. It clearly shows that Kunapot slowed to a stop at the pedestrian crossing, as did another car. Bus No. 29 rolled right into him.
Namfon said the bus driver and attendant claimed that the bus braked, but did not have enough time to stop. The promised the bus operator would cover costs, but they’ve heard nothing so far.
The medical costs will be considerable. Kunapot suffered several broken vertebrae and will require extensive physical therapy if he hopes to walk again. He has filed a complaint against the bus company and driver at Bang Sue Police Station, charging them with reckless driving.
Kunapot said he used to volunteer to help kids cross streets near schools, so he always stops.
The incident – as well as the tragic death of a young eye doctor on a similar crosswalk outside a hospital in January – should show Bangkok city administrators that traffic lights and stop signs are needed at busy crosswalks.