Travel: What it’s like to visit China – Safety as a tourist
It is dead scary to walk in China as a tourist.
Crossing the road, gives you a heart attack.
BICYCLES AND MOTORBIKES DON’T OBEY THE LAW
They think that they’re not “vehicles” like cars. They pretty much don’t stop at lights, will continue to go AGAINST oncoming traffic, and will not hesitate to beep and honk their horn at you, a pedestrian on the sidewalk, or trying to cross the street at a GREEN WALKING SIGNAL, because…. they’re on a motorbike.
Imagine all of this behind you, every single time you’re on where you think is a safe sidewalk: motorcycles, bicycles.. it’s insane.
.. BUT THEN AGAIN PEDETRIANS DON’T EITHER
Check it out — she’s pushing her baby stroller in the middle of the road even though sidewalks exist:
THE LAW OF TRANSPORTATION: THE BIGGER YOU ARE, THE MORE POWER YOU HAVE
If you have a car, you’re a king. You trump the bicycles, the motorbikes, and most of all, PEDESTRIANS.
You can pretty much drive any damn where you want, including ON SIDEWALKS where people are walking.
We were walking along and heard a “BEEP BEEP”, which ended up being a car coming at us. Freaky, right?
Very common in China.
A crazy-ass Chinese driver on the sidewalk. NO JOKE.
The worst aren’t the cars — some sidewalks are not big enough for them, but the motorcycles and bicycles.
There aren’t any traffic rules or regulations, and people do and go where they want, and park where they want.
If you want to see a video that I personally took of an area that is considered to be SAFER than the rest of Shanghai, just watch this insanity:
THE ONLY MODE OF TRANSPORTATION THAT TRUMPS A CAR? A TRAIN.
The only thing that trumps cars, buses, bicycles, motorbikes and pedestrians are TRAINS.
EVERYONE stops at a train track, no exceptions. A train WILL kill you, and CAN kill you, so they understand that enough to obey the rules.
I wasn’t thoroughly excited at this lack of safety, which alongside pollution, is another reason why I won’t go back to China any time soon.
OTHER MODES OF TRANSPORTATION: THIS HYBRID MOTORBIKE-CAR TUK TUK DEAL
I think I’ve seen this on TV in some other countries like Thailand, or India, but it is definitely not something common on Europe or North America.
What it is, is basically an electric motorcycle, with a cover on it.
This is what a fancy one looks like, up close: It is T.I.N.Y.
You can fit one person in front (driver), and one person RIGHT behind, in a mini seat. They didn’t look very comfortable, spacious, OR safe.
…although they probably have more clout on the road to run people over than a walking pedestrian, so it’s a toss-up who would die first in this situation.
China is not a country for the faint-hearted who are used to crossing at lights, cars and vehicles stopping for them, and not having to worry about being run over in the streets.
If you want more proof of this, just google: China accident traffic pedestrian.
THE ONLY PLACE YOU ARE SAFE, IS IN THE RICHER AREA
During rush hour, they have a traffic controller (police officer), and other non-police officer traffic controllers to help.
The police officer with his uniform has the most weight in the nicest area of Shanghai (Xintiandi, where the Apple store is), and everyone is VERY polite to each other, obeying BASIC traffic rules when he’s around.
They need an officer to obey Basic. Traffic. Rules.
Here’s a video I took of this boy on a bike, and the police officer giving him a scolding for not obeying him:
Anyway, if you aren’t an officer, you get people like this, trying to sneak past you because they don’t respect your lack of uniform, like this guy stopping a motorcyclist:
MOST TOURISTS DON’T SEE OR EXPERIENCE THIS
Most people don’t recognize how crazy it is in China compared to North America, because they’re shuttled around in buses or nice cars, or even just take taxis everywhere.
They DEFINITELY don’t walk, and aren’t accosted by bikes or cars on sidewalks coming at them.
An utter lack of police enforcement (or the inability to really hunker down on violators), contributes to this lack of safety.
Being constantly vigilant that you could be run over, becomes very taxing and mentally exhausting after even 3 days.
You definitely couldn’t be walking and texting in this country, or even daydreaming.
You will most certainly meet your death, and you’d have to be careful if you DO get run over, because if you don’t die instantly, a driver may actually back up and try to finish you off so they don’t have to pay you or your family compensation.
Reason? Once you’re dead, you can’t collect.
If you think I’m joking, watch this very NOT SAFE FOR WORK and painful video of a toddler getting run over.
CHINESE PEOPLE ARE USED TO THIS
They take it all in stride. Just check out this SUPER busy
street (highway, really) where cars are STILL in motion like these buses, and people are crossing anyway.
We were scared out of our minds.
Then we saw this black, luxury vehicle barreling down, SPEEDING UP and aiming for the pedestrians (or so it seems), honking all the way:
The black car literally barreled his way through pedestrians and people, who cross without any concern for their or their kid’s safety.