Playing with the traffic

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m going to miss the Shanghai traffic.

When I got here I thought it was insane. Well I got that much right. It is insane and people and cars and bicycles and bikes really do come at you from every possible direction. But there’s a lot more of a pattern to it than I originally though (OK I thought it was a free for all).  I have now spent just over two years driving a motorbike or an electric scooter around in the middle of it and I’ve totally adapted. There is a clear flow, and a clear hierarchy. The only real rule is “don’t EVER mess with the buses’.


There are two aspects I’ll particularly miss.

Firstly – the fact that the traffic is absolutely not aggressive. There is some poor driving, of course, but everyone is pretty calm. You can carve people up, drive around them and nobody bats an eyelid. It’s all considered fair game.

Secondly – the fact that you can just keep going. If you are on an electric scooter, you are essentially considered a pedestrian, so you don’t need to stop at red lights, you can bounce up on the pavement when the road is blocked, you can go in any direction down any street, or indeed any lane. Finally, you can park pretty much anywhere.

The flip side of adapting so well to  the traffic here is the rather more challenging re-adaptation when riding the scooter in the US. I’ll have to remember to behave. “Ni hao officer….”

  1. #1 by Shana on November 8, 2013 - 1:10 am

    Enjoying your blog posts Anya! Thanks for starting back up again! And us readers would like to know, why are you leaving Shanghai, and when?

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