Saturday, 5 February 2011

Daan Mogot

Jalan Daan Mogot is principle route leading west from Grogol until Tangerang. It is in places 3 lanes plus busway which runs from the city until Kalideres. Kalideres is the most western bus terminal in the city and you can travel to Carita, Bandung, Merak etc from there. The route takes goes past Green Garden, Indosiar, Talem Palem, Cengkareng as well and it follows river pretty much all the way into or out of the city.
At one end of the road are paper mills and heavy industry, ABC batteries, BASF have factories there. You have to travel through Daan Mogot to get to the airport should you desire, or to get to Puri Indah and onto the toll for Merak although a tollroad from the Airport joining the Merak toll is now finished but that has had little influence on the traffic.
Until the recent flood barriers were put in, large sections of the road would just disappear under water when it rained.
And also if you need a SIM then the licence center is also on Daan Mogot. Wow, are you impressed with my knowledge of this road? Well I used to travel it daily when I worked in Cengkareng and either was using a driver, taxi or the Transjakarta Busway from Pesakih into the city.
It is also so far in any of my driving and riding experiences of Indonesia the scariest, unpleasant route I occasionally I have to take.
Back in 2009 I had a crash on the flyover on my bike when I rode into a man pushing his bike over the flyover. I never saw him as he was hidden from view by a vast amount of bikers who just moved out of the way at the last moment.
The bike was ok, I cut my foot, my fiancee hurt her knee and arm. The man's bike was more damaged and he was a little shocked. I just shook my head and rode on vowing never ever to talk the flyover again. Ever since having a bike it was always the ultimate challenge for me to ride over it. It was, I failed to do it correctly, I never did it since.
When I last had to renew my SIM we got stuck there due to an accident. I remember back in the early days going through the floods twice with water up to the bonnet of the taxi as we were getting lost. So it has a place in my mind for ever. And the time I took a taxi and the driver fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into the side of the road. He was so stressed out, I changed the blown tire for him and still paid for the trip!

Above Daan Mogot in all its glory

So to the point of all this. On Friday I was going to Cengkareng to give a presentation to some colleagues and I had to go via Daan Mogot to get there.
As I entered the street next to Ciputra Mall I was met with a flurry of buses and trucks all going at speed and very carelessly. As I continued on it got a little less hectic and the flow was back to normal.
At the traffic lights at Green Garden I, with a thousand others was waiting for the working traffic lights to change to green when there was an almighty bang and glass and plastic scattered up the street, this was followed by lots of shouting and blowing of air horns. Everyone turned to look.
A yellow mini truck had taken the mirrors clean off a huge container truck. After some noise and horn blowing, (clearly the big truck driver wanted to sort it all out) we moved off up the road. A couple of minutes later, the yellow truck went by at a speed far too fast followed by... yep! the Container truck blowing his horn and as I continued to ride I watched with a sense of fear as the two trucks weaved in and out of buses and motorbikes as the chase continued. At one point there was a sudden screech of brakes and smoke everywhere as both vehicles were forced to slow but then they carried on racing through the traffic. The sudden braking of these 2 trucks caused everyone else to stop very quickly and I am thankful that my brakes work and I was alert as I was close to riding into a car.
Then we all moved on again and still you could watch the chase which eventually ended as the small truck just turned sharp left again causing traffic to swerve and slow down and much to the audible annoyance of the big truck everything slowed down to its normal fast paced chaos of buses, motorbikes, cars and trucks all going at high speed. It is madness.

On the way back to Puri Indah again I had to travel down Daan Mogot, do a U turn and then head up to Puri. As I was riding a man on a push bike came hurling out of a small side street straight into traffic and into my driving line, again I braked and skidded to stop while he just looked up and rode on.  The old heart was thumping again.

I suppose those that grow up to a road like that must just ignore the risk it poses or I am too aware of it.

Happily that will the last time I have to go through Daan Mogot for sometime.

As I have already said, I have been riding for over 3 years, all over Jakarta, East Java, out into West Java, Lombok and across Bali, Kuta and Denpasar and still that one road manages to scare me everytime I set out on it.

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