Friday, February 25, 2005

Walk on by

The first time I was at a U.S. mall ....

in the States with David, we parked at the parking lot and David started walking to the entrance. After several seconds of waiting for me, he turned around to see that I was still on the other side of the driving lane, with a car stopped to allow me to go on in front of him, and me stopped to allow him to go first.

I guess I was a little dumbfounded that the driver had actually stopped for me to cross to the entrance...everywhere we went, it was the same. Pedestrians seemed to come first. ( I understand that this doesn't necessarily happen everywhere in the states, but still... )

In Malaysia, as pedestrians, we always had to be at the mercy of vehicles in parking lots ( or on the roads ) that would never ever slow down for someone to pass in front of them..not even at a zebra's crossing. There was always a "pass in front of me and you risk being flattened" understanding.

Being an "expatriate", I am always interested in views and experiences of foreign nationals living in Malaysia and read with amusement as one foreigner was astounded at the fact that pedestrians had to weave their way through traffic dodging cars and motorcycles like in the game of "Froggers". Hence the statistics below:

Asia/Pacific road fatality risk (1996)
summarised from the study’s ‘Road Safety Guidelines for the Asian and Pacific Region’ as well as the report on ‘Vulnerable Road Users in the Asian and Pacific Region’ (ADB, 1998)



However, I must add, that there are a lot of mindless pedestrians out there who don't seem to mind skid marks across their chests either

14 comments:

SiaoChaBoa said...

Hey.. Letti,
It's the same here..in Canada.. the drivers do stop.. and let you cross first.. i was kinda surprised too.. when i first came to Canada.. but now i'm so used to it.. i take it for granted a little.. heh!! ;)

dreaming-neko said...

i can vouch that bangkok is definitely a frogger too! if the cars/trucks/buses don't get you, the motorcycles, and the tuk-tuks will!

Ria said...

Yes its the same here in the UK drivers are pretty considerate. Everytime I seem to want to cross the road,4/5 drivers stop to let me pass. I wish all drivers are like this!!

Desmond Goh said...

I stopped for a pedestrian once at a zebra crossing. As the pedestrian was starting to cross a car just zoomed pass me missing the pedestrian by inches. Sometimes other drivers honked at me for stopping for pedestrians. They think I am nuts. No body seem to know how to put manners in drivers' brains over here in Malaysia.

sweetspirit said...

wow 95% of the time drivers stop in oz,thank goodness.
Wow i had no idea it was that crazy in Malaysia,although i had read driver were a little crazy.
cheers sweety

Salena said...

WOW! I love hearing about things like that- how things are different there than here. Very interesting! Do you really have ZEBRA crossings?!

Raven the Pagan said...

LOL - Malaysia brings new meaning to the saying "Life in the fast lane" . Germans are pretty hard concerning driver, and pedestrian laws. Mostly as a driver you must always be ready to stop for pedestrian. Pedestrians, and bicyclists always have right of way! Lord help you if you run someone down in a crosswalk.

I.M. Dedd said...

Letti, dear, you obviously have never been to Massachusetts. :}

Monica said...

people are supposed to stop in Ny , on the island they do most of the time, but Manhattan...thats a different story, its every man for himself!!!!

Rohit said...

Pretty much the same in Bombay.. zebra crossings are just candy for the eye.

FT said...

Hi Letti-
I'm back online. I love reading about the your perspective on the odd things we do here. Henry looks adorable. Keep the pics coming!

-yuni- said...

i agree with Desmond..Malaysian drivers really have problems with their attitude on the road..

Animesh said...

It's the same in India as well. You go on the road without looking around ten times, and you'll get run over ;)

anna. said...

Yeah yeah!! There's this ridiculous traffic light near my condo, two lanes almost always have to wait to turn right, and one never ever ever stops. People just zoom past, heedless of the red light that should tell them a pedestrian is crossing!

So I was waiting for my chance to dash and this car just stopped and let me and about 6 other people who collected there through.

Everyone was so shocked no one moved at first, then as we started to cross the guys at the back started to honk. Haih, these people... no manners I tell you. The day one guy (or lady) stops they all go honk him or her

Hayia...

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