Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Cars And Bicycles

Many Americans think that the Chinese are bad drivers, and I know now that they are good drivers.
There is a noteworthy harmony among the thousands of autos and bicycles in this congested city. Cars and cycles come within harrowing inches of each other, and move seamlessly through the streets. This high wire act is completed with no visible hostility or anger.
I have seen much more tension between drivers and cyclists in the U.S. Once, while in New York City, I saw a cyclist beat the side of a bus with a chain because he felt he had been encroached upon. Cars and scooters in Beijing proceed at a slow controlled pace and move around the same way bicycles do - weaving and slipping through every potential opening.
Many vehicles are without seat belts...I have heard because "these cars don't go fast enough to require seat belts"
It is extraordinary to watch the controlled chaos on the streets of the crowded city. Crossing guards at corners keep strict control and conduct the streets like a symphony, and somehow everyone gets to where they're going.