We learned from our new friend He Hai that “the only rule in traffic here is there are no rules!” Yesterday, Jp was hit by a car.
Before you grow too concerned, he’s completely fine. The car was parked, and he began crossing the street at the same time the car started moving, not even a bruise to show for it.
It is chaotic here, though, for a foreigner – so many cars, bicycles, electric bikes, mopeds, and people navigating the streets together. In the chaos, there is some order brought on by the bell. Whether on a bike or moped, on the sidewalk the near constant bell signals watch out, move to the side to the other 2 or 3-wheeled vehicles or pedestrians. We’ve grown accustomed to it now, especially after using it as bikers ourselves, but it’s easy to spot the “newcomer” who isn’t aware yet.
The car horn is used to signify changing lanes, “watch out” to other cars or pedestrians, and probably many more things we don’t know. It does seem the turn signal is used less often than the horn. We can’t imagine ever trying to drive here, even though they drive on the same side of the road as in the US.
It must appear to people reading this that our lives are in constant peril just getting from point A to point B. Not the case; as long as you stay alert and cross with the locals until you get the hang of things, you’re fine. Also, Shanghai is an extremely beautiful city, full of law abiding people. The streets of Shanghai feel exponentially safer than the streets of New York or Philadelphia.