Thursday, October 26, 2006

Driving you crazy

And I thought driving in Singapore was bad.

I literally feared for my life while traversing the streets of downtown Beijing as a passenger as well as a pedestrian. This is what I learnt about traffic in Beijing:

A) Pedestrians DO NOT have right of way, no matter what color the little man is on the traffic light. It’s survival of the fittest as far as crossing the road is concerned. It seems like you almost need to have a death wish or at least faith that The Force Is With You. Even the pavements are not safe – you may suddenly find yourself leaping out of the way of a cyclist who decides that the pavement is a quicker (& less risky) way to get to his destination.

B) Horns in China are activated when you depress the brakes (& I suspect the accelerator as well). You honk when you need to let your fellow motorists/errant pedestrians/cyclist know to “Watch out, I am coming”/”Get out of the way”/”Move, you idiot”.

C) Cyclists are an entity unto their own – they have their own traffic rules which basically states that anything goes as long as you don’t get knocked down or don’t knock down anybody else.

Thank God I don’t have to drive when we move there.

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