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Crossing the street in China; it’s like real life “Frogger”

Popularity 4Viewed 3798 times 2014-5-26 14:30 |System category:Life| intersection, crossing, street, frogger

Your heart is pounding, the adrenaline is kicking in, your eyes shift left and right, left, right, left, right, shoulder check. The green “walk” sign is on, and you have 30 seconds to do the deed; you’re about to cross the street at a busy intersection in China.

I’m sure most of you guys know the video game “Frogger”, it’s this old-schooled video game where you play the role of a frog and you leap across the road while dodging cars and trucks, trying to reach the other side of the road. Well, that’s exactly how I felt during my first month here in Shanghai; I was scared and felt really unsafe. In this blog post I will touch briefly on some of the notable differences in comparison to traffic in Canada.

1) People yield to cars

As a pedestrian, you have to let cars go first; they seem to have the right of way, even when the pedestrian “walk” signal is on. Furthermore, cars that are turning at the intersection into the crosswalk don’t stop, so you have to use your dexterity and your superhuman perception to judge if it is safe to go or to stop.  

2) Big cars go first

I can see why this may be the case; if you don’t yield, they will crush you to death. Also, the nicer and more expensive your car is, the more likely the other cars will yield. If you have a Ferrari or a Lamborghini, you’re pretty much the king of the road. Vroom.  

3) Electric scooters don’t follow the rules of the road

They go on the sidewalk, they ride on the wrong side of the road, and they don’t stop for pedestrians. You’re more likely to get hit by one of those than a car.

4) Buses don’t seem to understand that they’re very large and scary

They could be doing whatever electric scooters are doing for all they care.

5) Traffic lights are confusing and crazy

When I was in Xi’an I noticed that they have traffic lights that look ridiculously absurd. In my mind, it felt like as if they conveyed the message: “you have 60 seconds to do whatever you want; turn, go straight, and make a u-turn.”

I was ridiculously scared to cross the road when I first came to China. I frequently followed the crowd, or matched my stride with other Chinese because they seem to know what they were doing. But now, after being here for a few months, I believe I’ve mastered the art of crossing the street in China; it’s like reaching level 100 in Frogger.

(Opinions of the writer in this blog don't represent those of China Daily.)




Shake hands

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Comment Comment (4 comments)

Reply Report ColinSpeakman 2014-5-26 16:28
A super competitor at the game of street crossing!  
Reply Report Jarek 2014-5-27 14:27
After one year of living and crossing roads in china, the most difficult was to getting back used to the rules in Europe. Cross only at the legal places = taking long detours to get to the otherside. Swirling between cars and bikes, no more. Sometimes I do miss China.
Reply Report wpywood 2014-5-27 16:21
We must find the shortcuts
Reply Report HailChina! 2014-5-30 07:12
(: I used to like Frogger.

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Jessica is a Chinese language student and has been staying in Shanghai since February 2014.


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