I am currently house sitting at my Dad's place while he and Nancy are traveling in China. The following is from his recent email. -Roger Frank
Years ago I saw an illustration depicting the food chain. It starts with a large fish (reading left to right) about to eat a slightly smaller fish and that one is about to eat another smaller one etc. until the last one is a very small fish.
After witnessing streets in numerous Chinese large cities in my 2005 trip here and this current trip there is two significant differences. First there are more vehicles and pedestrians. Secondly, there are more roads but still not enough. But what remains the same is the street food chain.
That food chain can be best described this way: at the top are large trucks, then buses, small trucks, 155 cc motorcycles (no fat hog Harleys), motor scooters, bikes (both 2 and 3 wheelers) and then you guessed it, humans of all ages.
The trucks, buses, and cars are seen as blending, weaving, cutting off and horn blowing.
The drivers' strategy appears to be get ahead of the next vehicle as soon as you can, so the option to cut off the driver behind is available.
Everyone knows how the food chain works on these streets.
Turning to pedestrians and how they fair. When people step into the street they go as far as possible, stop and wait for the vehicles to pass before continuing. They must have nerves of steel because I've seen cars pass by within inches with no apparent alarm. There were times my heart was in my throat when seeing such a close call.
Drivers either either slow down or speed up when seeing a person in front of their path. It appears that they don't want to leave their lane anymore than necessary.
I'm not sure this Chinese free for all on the streets and roads with little traffic regulators i.e. traffic lights and stop signs can be sustained. As more and more cars are added to the roadways and smaller motor vehicles too the traffic snarl will demand change.
But then maybe not as one driver said to me "The traffic moves now. Change would make it stop".