The subtle intricacies of Shanghai traffic
My first exposure to Shanghai traffic was emerging blinking from the Metro at Tongji University. Faced with a very wide road and a lot of hooting vehicles was nearly enough to make me stay put at the side of the road.
Anyway, the pedestrian lights turned green and Julian encouraged me to cross to the other side. “Just keep walking, they’ll go around you” he whispered in my ear. At that point I did wonder if he’d taken out a life insurance policy on me. The little man was green but cars, bikes, bicycles were still driving through.Don’t they know they’re supposed to stop!
Seems that the traffic here does what it wants. Bikes and motorbikes have some special lanes but if they don’t or they’re full they will use your space. Right turners go through lights. And you are supposed to keep walking and trust that they’ll miss you.
Three days in I cross the road, I keep my eyes opened and I keep walking no matter what. I’ve gone native!
And whilst we’re talking about traffic I haven’t seen a single cyclist with a helmet. Mind you, I’ve only seen one with a light on their bikes – silent but deadly in the dark. Crash helmets for motor cyclists? Yep, seen one person wearing one of those. And they, mostly don’t bother with lights!
If I make it back it will be a miracle. And I don’t want to know the annualised death rate for pedestrians in Shanghai until AFTER I leave the country. In the meantime I’ll keep walking and trusting that they’ll avoid me!