Random Observations: Traffic is no worse than India!

When we were coming here, we were told that traffic is really bad and I should not even think of owning a car, let alone driving it. So I have stuck to that advice and use public transport. However, traffic is not that bad, especially if you compare it with India. People here seem to follow the traffic sign most of the time, and I am yet to see a fight breaking on the road because someone cut someone else off or bumped lightly. These are very common sights in India. Also, even though the roads are crowded, I haven’t seen too many zigzag driving (cutting lanes and driving across your face, mostly by bikes and 3-wheelers) in Shanghai, so traffic is not that unpredictable. However, owning a car is very expensive because govt wants to discourage you from buying the car.

There are lots of cars in China (mostly taxis since owning them is expensive). There are a variety of brands but 99% of cars you see on the road is Volkswagon! Indeed, China alone can help the company survive any kind of downturn, there are so many VW here J. I wondered why, and then I found out that long time back, VW had tied up with Chinese govt to set up their factory here and that spurred local sales. In 2007, VW sold 443000 vehicles in China in first half of the year, a record.

Cycles and scooters have their own lanes, with their own traffic signals. They are alongside regular traffic lanes, and they can choose to use these lanes or pedestrian lanes (not sure if it is legal or not, but they do it anyway!). Pedestrians are hit more by cyclists than by cars. This is because of 2 reasons: one, cycle lanes are nearest to the pedestrian lanes (and sometimes cyclists use pedestrian lanes), and two, they break traffic rules much more often than regular cars and buses.

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