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Author Topic: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?  (Read 16668 times)

joe.thinker

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Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« on: March 27, 2008, 03:01:15 AM »
Hey all -

Now, I've only been here a while, and this may be old hat, but here's a chance to share war stories. We all know the order of traffic here is, well, "in prime opportunity for improvement." Why, just this week:

Monday - I was walking and I was struck by a car. OK, allow me to clarify: I was walking, not reading, text messaging, taking hallucinatory drugs, paying attention to myself and my surroundings, and I was struck by an SUV in the left thigh. OK, allow me to clarify MORE: I was walking, in sound body and mind, paying attention, not distracted on the side walk, NOT a driveway, and I was struck by a car. Now, naturally, my first inclination was to look at the driver. Expecting a "dui bu qi" or "bu hao yi si." No. The man looked at me with a frown, tilted his head, and sighed/groaned as if to say: "Why? Why are you in my way?" (or as Con put it last night: "If you don't like my driving, get off the side walk.") llllllllll

Tuesday - I was on my friends borrowed e-bike. I was struck by another e-bike. Allow me to clarify: I was riding, paying attention, going in a straight line, with the flow of traffic, and an e-bike came barrelling out of a side street, turning left, and struck me. He clipped my front left fender, knocking it to the ground. Did he stop? No. Did others look at him? Yes. This makes me think, even to the Chinese, he was in the wrong, not me.

Tuesday afternoon - I was on said e-bike. I was struck... AGAIN by another e-bike. This time, I was as far right as I could get to the curb. I, apparently, was not moving fast enough (despite having it at full throttle), as the person came by (only slightly faster) and clipped off a section of plastic on the rear left fender. Again, was so much of a slowing down, or a passing "bu hao yi si" uttered? No.

Which brings me to the question: What the hell is wrong here? I think, using deductive logic, I have come to the most probable conclusion: I am invisible to the naked eye when viewed on the left side.

Any similar stories?
something with upside down question marks, accents under "c" and prolific punctuation will do

non-dave

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2008, 03:32:31 AM »
Joe, as you were typing this I looked out my office window and watched a girl get knocked down by a little van. Not too badly damaged - they're still there now arguing about who pays who and how much.

I reckon it's not just you who is invisible. I've had a bicycle, 2 e-bikes and now a car - so I've viewed the phenomenon of motorized chinese from all perspectives.

After much deliberation and numerous, daily near-misses I have come to the following conclusion:

Every one who is mobile (in any form) is crazy and thinks that they have an inalienable "right-of-way". This applies whether the mobile individual is a high-ranking party dude, a high-flying successful businessperson, an upwardly mobile building contractor driving one of Fred Flinstone's old cars or a peasant with 2 jiao and new pair of sandles. No one gives way and no-one looks. Apparently turning your head in the opposite direction of the on-coming object invokes some kind of protection talisman (Note: this doesn't always work!)

How to combat this? Good question. Inadequate answers. Some suggestions:
1. Move to another country (Not Africa - it's even worse there.)
2. Be constantly and eternally vigilant. An ever-present mix of caution and wild abandon should guide your movements.
3. Comprehensive insurance and a license.
4. High-ranking and influential friends who owe you something.
5. Learn to scream out "傻屄!” and loosen up your middle finger. They'll figure out what it means.
You have to care for it to matter.
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china-matt

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2008, 04:28:11 AM »
When the guy hit you on the side walk you should've dialed the police, shown him the number and then asked for 5,000 kuai. Or you could've kicked in a headlight.

The other day I was walking home on the sidewalk from Carrefour... a moron honked at me from behind and pulled within inches of my legs. I yelled as loud as I could that the bastard for a few minutes--and he backed up.

People who honk at me while I'm in the right get to wait. I'll learn 'em some manners.
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Granny Mae

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2008, 06:50:52 AM »
joe.thinker,when I walk through the Casino car park in Brisbane, I can pick a lot of the cars driven by Chinese or Asian folk. They can't even park  with power steering to help. You'd think they were trying to park a semi-trailer with a "dog" (trailer) attached.When ever someone is doing something stupid on the road, I have a bet with my neighbour that it will be an Asian; although occasionally it is a "SOFWAH".( silly old fart with a hat) Please don't even talk about Asian taxi drivers in Brisbane. Given the amount of space we have on our roads here and lack of bycycles and pedestrians,they are, on the whole,rotten drivers. I am surprised that you have even lived to tell the tale over there.

Lotus Eater

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2008, 07:03:11 AM »
I had the most amazing taxi ride the other day.  The driver had clearly spent waaaay too many hours playing racing games on his computer or in the arcade.

I figure that as a nation, not too many Chinese people have 'grown up' in cars the way we have.  So the processes of looking out for other vehicles, pedestrians etc aren't ingrained as ours are even before we learn to drive or ride. On the whole most drivers have had little experience with being in vehicles, especially ones with any speed attached.

License getting is a costly process, but actual driving experience is low.  And added to the general disregard for rules, the 'water flowing' theory of Ruth's, or my 'parallel universes" theory, then roads and traffic here are exciting adventures.

Calach Pfeffer

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2008, 08:41:58 AM »
Chinese have system.  They do.  Really.  Ride a bike for a while and you can get to know when and in what situation people will do what stupid thing.  (This offers no protection whatsoever for "rogue waves"--the people who come out of nowhere, but anyway.)

They don't use lane markings.  They don't use rear view mirrors.  But they don't use bullheadedness either--they ease off their straight lines for people doing odd things, like backing into traffic or driving on the wrong side, or pulling out without warning, and so on.

They do swarm, for example when the light has turned red but people are still moving across the intersection.  They do start their left turns a hundred meters too early.  They do text n drive.

Three point turns never happen, but if a reversing procedure is underway, it won't be halted.

And broadly speaking, everyone has a much smaller need for personal space.  On a bike that's really unnerving when you find yourself in a pack--people will approach from behind on a line that puts them suddenly next to you within elbow distance. 

I don't know if it's really the best way, but I've come to believe it's safer to be able to move faster than the other two wheelers around you, and it's safer to function like a car following the actual traffic rules--take a center line, keep away from the curb, look before you turn, and so on.

It's really very much a whole lot just like the way they walk.  Chinese drive just like they queue.


» now with New and Endlessly Improving CV 4U  ٩( ᐛ )و

belrain

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2008, 08:44:57 AM »
One day, I had to take the bus from Ningbo to Shanghai - well, it is very interesting to sit directly behind the driver at such a trip  aoaoaoaoao
I still wonder I arrived alive and nothing happend. And the bus had a warning system. Each time the speed was higher than 100 km/h, a nerving sound appeared - good thing is, no chance for the driver to sleep ahahahahah
Then, at the bus station in Shanghai, I changed to a taxi. And guess what, after about 4m driving, he hit a pedestrian. But the pedestrian just jumped up like nothing happened and went away uuuuuuuuuu

Traffic in China is ................... interesting. I hope I never have to drive there myself aoaoaoaoao
cdcdcdcdcd Das Leben ist schön

Stil

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #7 on: March 27, 2008, 11:20:55 AM »
Joe, this is definitely your fault. As you said you haven't been here long so perhaps you don't know your mistakes. I'll list them.

1. You were paying attention
2. You were going in a straight line
3. You were going with the flow of traffic
4. You were walking on the sidewalk
5. You were not reading
6. You were not text messaging
7. You were not on any hallucinatory drugs

What were you thinking man?

ps Don't do any thinking either

Con ate dog

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #8 on: March 27, 2008, 11:41:42 AM »
Today Babala and I were in a taxi that got pinched: the bus in front suddenly slowed, and a car came up on the left.  Faced with either hitting the bus, sideswiping the car or letting that guy get ahead, our driver pulled an amazing stunt: he stood on the gas, fried straight at the bus, then juked left at the last possible second, one of the most aggressive and precise pieces of driving I have ever seen.

Is he a terrible driver for attempting it, or a great one for executing it?
And there is no liar like the indignant man... -Nietszche

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Lotus Eater

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #9 on: March 27, 2008, 01:09:02 PM »
He's on a retainer from the local hospital - the more heart attacks he brings in the more he gets free medical care for his family.

adamsmith

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #10 on: March 27, 2008, 02:22:18 PM »
just tonight on my way home to read this post, I was trying to cross the street. Always an interesting experience in China, but I tried to use the traffic lights and I still wait for them to turn green as my insurance is not paid up at this time. The road is a busy one and I hate to do the old walk a lane and wait bit. Well the oncoming light turns red and I start to walk across. Get halfway and all the oncoming taxis swerve around the cars waiting at the red light and take aim at me as I am trying desperately to make it to the other side. I swear that Wuhan taxi drivers must have a bit of the bull in their blood because it seems the color red just sets them off. I had to dodge four taxis and that was while I was standing in the middle of the road. By the time they all got by the light changed and I was left standing there dodging the busses that were chasing the taxis. bqbqbqbqbq bqbqbqbqbq sitting in the middle of the road now.

BrandeX

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #11 on: March 27, 2008, 03:40:31 PM »
I have come up with the term "quasi-civilized" when I am having a bad China day and feel the need to categorize, and justify to myself the reasonings of the actions of its citizens.

George

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #12 on: March 27, 2008, 07:56:28 PM »
The old "turning right when the light is red" trick is a dangerous time for pedestrians. Nobody wants to give way to us. bibibibibi
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joe.thinker

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2008, 03:57:34 AM »
Update:

On the way to a café today I saw a woman looking around for a spot to cross a busy road. She was with her daughter. When the mother couldn't find a spot, she boxed her daughters eyes and said: "Don't look, just go! Don't look, just go!"

Way to start them off right!
something with upside down question marks, accents under "c" and prolific punctuation will do

Con ate dog

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Re: Roads and traffic: What the hell is wrong here?
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2008, 09:21:59 AM »
Such dangerous cutting in a saw this morning!  I can feel the postal thing building inside me, as it always does this time of year.  I need to get out of town: I have concrete poisoning.
And there is no liar like the indignant man... -Nietszche

Nothing is so fatiguing as the eternal hanging on of an uncompleted task. -William James

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