This post is to continue the discussion on Traffic Rules in Shanghai.
Check what my star reader Carsten shared with us on safety in Shanghai. The original comment was posted under my article Just Few Steps Away from My New Car:
About safety :
All people in China should be happy for every little effort the authorities do for the safety. More than 100,000 people get KILLED in the traffic every year in China (and nobody knows how many gets injured).
It goes just SOOOO slowly to make even the slightest improvements.
A couple of months ago Shanghai introduced a new traffic regulation that emphasizes the right for the pedestrians (walking people) to cross the street at the pedestrian crossings (the wide white lines in a band across the road).
I can see now that the traffic assistants are trying to teach people to stop for the red lights, but it is difficult when every bus or taxi just plows through the masses, inside and outside these crossings. And they have no right to punish the violators.
I hope that there soon will be introduced a 100 RMB fee to cars for driving through a not free pedestrian crossing, and same fee for the pedestrians crossing the streets outside of the crossings, or crossing for red light.
The authorities can very well use all the advertisement TV’s there are put up everywhere to teach the people some traffic manners and of the punishment fee.
In USA the cars can (like in China) turn right, BUT ONLY IF IT CAN BE DONE WITHOUT ANY DISTURBANCE.
In Europe – NO way! Wait until the green light turns on.
That clearly avoids the “can I, or can I not…?” situations when turning right for red light.
I can say, that a pedestrian in northern Europe always have the right, then follows the bicycles and cars. THE WEAK PART HAS THE RIGHT OF WAY.
This is mainly because it is not even possible for pedestrians and bicycles to get a license to prove their traffic behavior.
But the ones with engines does.
Jianshuo, 3 questions, how is the policy in China of this right turn business ?
What did they actually teach you in the driving school about the relationship between you as a driver and the pedestrians?
And last, did they emphasize the importance of keeping distance ?
I like to know this, because I like to KICK the F…… cars that nearly run me down from behind, even I cross for green light and inside the right zones !
Anyway, I’m the lucky one, because I’m 191 cm, so the cars will get hurt if they hit me, and that makes most cars willing to stop for me, hehehe ;-) !
And – put on the seat belt EVERY SINGLE time before you turn the key in your car.
I have made it a demand for all passengers going with me to put on the belts before I put the car in gear. I don’t want to be responsible for their sudden death, even it’s not my fault.
“I drive perfectly” as all says, but unfortunately all the others are driving with their head in another place than the traffic, so I have protect me and my dears against the lunatics that kills.
Check this page : http://www.disastercenter.com/traffic/
and to get more knowledge, download the WHO report (summary) in Chinese or English : http://www.who.int/world-health-day/2004/infomaterials/world_report/en/
Thanks for Casten’s observation for Shanghai’s traffic condition! It is true. I have been a pedestrian (the weak party) in Shanghai for 9 years (and will always play the pedestrian role in the future) and been a driver (the stronger party) for almost one year. The change of roles helped me to understand the behavior of both pedestrians and driver in the big melting-pot city. I strongly believe the chaos of traffic in Shanghai is because the percentage of people who can drive is too low and majority of pedestrians do not understand how the cars work so they follow the majority.
Let me answer Carsten’s three questions first.
How is the policy in China of this right turn business ?
In China, if you can turn right at anytime unless there is a red right arrow prevent you to do that. (Disclaimer: Do not take this as official traffic rule – I didn’t got full score in my traffic rule exam and may be seriously wrong). Sometimes, the right turn lane are combined with forward lane. At red light, if you don’t want foward cars before you, you can safely turn right. If there is car waiting for the red light to go forward, as common sense indicates, you need to wait the cars before you to leave before you can turn right. :-D
What did they actually teach you in the driving school about the relationship between
you as a driver and the pedestrians?
Well. To be honest, they didn’t teach me anything about it. My mentor has more than 30 years of driving experience, but he couldn’t speak mandarin well and didn’t receive good education. He was paid very badly. I don’t know how much he makes for teaching us, but when I told him I graduated from Shanghai Jiaotong University and am working for a famous foreign company, he commented: “Oh. Boy. You are so promising. You must be able to earn 2000 RMB per month!”. Then I knew what very high salary means to him.
Enough about my nice mentor. I just want to say, many mentors in driving school do not care anything about relationship, philosophy or anything that are not directly related to the police tickets. If the policeman do not award you a ticket, you can do anything.
Unlike mentors, the traffic rules do specify the behavior of a vehicle. I reviewed the rule again with Wendy when she prepared for her exam. Here are some:
- When a car comes to a pedestrian crossing, the car has to slow down to give way to pedestrians.
- If there are pedestrians on the pedestrian crossing, the car has to STOP before the line to allow people to pass.
- Cars have to give ways to pedestrians even the pedestrians are not on a pedestrian crossing.
- Drivers are 100% responsible for any traffic accidents involving a pedestrian, UNLESS they can prove enough attention has been paid to avoid the accident.
Please note the last one. This means, if someone run into a highway (where cars drive at 120 km per hour), and a car hit the him/her, the car driver still has to be partly responsible for it. This is the major change from the traffic rule of the last version. In that version, the pedestrians are 100% responsible for any accident if they do not use pedestrian crossings AND a pedestrian crossing/bridge/tunnel can be found with 30 meters. I support the change.
How well do I do? Well. I have to say, I am trying to follow the rule but often failed. It is because, the cars behind never expect the car in front to slow down (not to mention stop) at pedestrian crossings. For many times, when I see someone cross the street at the pedestrian crossing, I slowed down to give ways to them, the car behind almost hit my car and the driver honked angrily as if I am the bad driver. After several time, I found I was a trouble maker on the road, and what I do (to slow down) is many times more dangerous than rushing onto the pedestrian crossing. Of cause, to do so, you also need to honk to get the pedestrians’ attention and they will run away. Oh. Forgive me! This is how I can survey in this either hit the pedestrian or hit by car behind business.
The same is for the STOP sign. Nobody stops or expects others to stop. If you stop, the next car may hit yours.
Did they emphasize the importance of keeping distance?
Simple. Yes. The emphasized, just as they emphasized the STOP sign. Look at the EU vs Italy flash. The Yes! No! is exactly describing the situation in China. In the flash, the scenarios or turning right, stop, and distance are repeating itself in Shanghai everyday and in every corner.