Disclaimer: I am trying to tell a joke – a humorous way to illustrate the problem of Shanghai’s traffic. Do not treat it as a tourist guide. It may cause serious danger, damage, or death.
Traffic rules you have to follow in Shanghai.
- Yield at Red Light. Red light in Shanghai does not mean stop. It means yield. When pedestrian observe red light at cross street, they must stop first, look left and right to make sure there is no cars, and they cross the street. BTW, do the same thing for green light.
- It is Illegal to Use Pedestrian. Always choose the section without zebra to cross. Don’t touch the zebra with your foot.
- Horn when you see people on Pedestrian. This is to show your respect.
- The First to Mover Has the Right of Road. When you are turning right to merge into the main road, be fast to rush into the road, to get the road first to claim the right of road, and the upcoming traffic has to full stop to yield. The even better way is to rush into the road before looking left for upcoming traffic, to make sure you get the right of the road every time.
- More to come…
This reminds me of a funny story…
Two Chinese men from Tianjin were on the way from SFO to Colorado Springs for business. I met them on the plane and offered to show them my town.
The next day I met them and took them to an historic part of town for lunch.
We were ready to cross the street at the crosswalk (zebra). The traffic light turned red for vehicles and there was a green “Walk” light for pedestrians.
A car was approaching and I knew it would stop so I continue into the street to cross. The two men yelled at me and pulled me back to “safety”.
Of course the car stopped for the red light and I really wasn’t in any danger but it reminded me how different the rules are in China.
There were other funny instances too.
I’m living in the states. I would never across a street at the crosswalk unless I see the incoming cars are completely stopped in front of the zebra marks, even I had the right way. Or at minimum, I would make sure someone is between me and the incoming traffic. OMG, do you know how many people are talking on the phone while driving. Or worst, DUI.
Please, Jianshuo, tell us when we should honk our horns or ring our bicycle bells. :-)
When I lived in Shanghai, one of the things I hate about it was the disorderly traffic. I feel sorry for the young children and elderly each time they are crossing streets there. Neither drivers nor pedestrians obey the “rules” if there do exist. I hated when I was trying to cross the street with green pedestrian lights on, which means I should have been able to cross the street, or when I crossed the zebra crosswalk. Cars just don’t yield the right way to pedestrians on crosswalks. Jianshuo was right, drivers claim the right of way goes to whoever cuts into the lane first.
If the mayor of Shanghai really wants to improve the image of his city, he should strictly enforce the “correct” traffic rules. Now that I’ve moved back to the States, I feel so safe here. What Shanghai (perhaps most of the other Chinese cities as well) needs to do is not just to keep building skycrapers. It desperately needs civilizations. Educating drivers/pedestrians to obey traffic rules are absolutely the very basic.
WJS, this is the funnest thing I read on this blog.
I have a few questions from TW’s comments:
TW Said >>Neither drivers nor pedestrians obey the “rules” if there do exist. I hated when I was trying to cross the street with green pedestrian lights on, which means I should have been able to cross the street, or when I crossed the zebra crosswalk.>Cars just don’t yield the right way to pedestrians on crosswalks.>If the mayor of Shanghai really wants to improve the image of his city, he should strictly enforce the “correct” traffic rules. . . What Shanghai needs to do is . . . Educating drivers/pedestrians to obey traffic rules are absolutely the very basic.<<
Q. Again. . . What are the traffie rules? When I first visited ShangHai I assumed they were similar to the USA but maybe they are not. I’d like to see the driving handbook.
And, if you think crossing a street in ShangHai is bad try doing it in Saigon. It make SHangHai look like child’s play.
My rule of thumb for ShangHai is “The biggest object has the right of way.”
@Crew Dog (I assume you are Cox), there IS traffic rules in China. The newly issued Road, and Traffic Security Law in April 2011. The only interesting part of it for me is the article 47: Vehicle should slow down when run into crosswalk; should stop to yield if there are people on it.
Traffic rules you have to follow in Shanghai
Are you sure you didn’t mean “Traffic Rules for New York City”?
At the controlled intersection of Shanghai, does the left turn motorist should yield to the pedestian or vise versa? I am confused!
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About 3 years ago when I spent a few months in Shanghai I observed the following: