Why Don’t Chinese Look While Cross the Road?

I nearly ran someone over with my electric scooter this afternoon. And it was definitely not my fault.

I was riding at normal speed along Liangmaqiaolu between the third and fourth ring roads. A middle aged man jumped off a bus and then hurried towards the pavement. He didn’t turn around to look at the traffic behind him even once and bumped straight into my scooter. If I was a little faster or didn’t react so fast, I would surely have run him over!

And this has been the daily occurrence. So many people, men and women, old and young, walk across the road without looking. (the only exception are people with young children) People walk while eating ‘baozi’ or talking to their mobiles or they head towards the bus station eyeing only at the bus. They just don’t look. That’s something I have not figured out why.

For the older generation of the Chinese, you may say that they are not used to such busy traffic. So are the migrant workers. But how about the urban youth?

Every day, at least 300 people are killed in traffic accidents in China, which makes the country top in the world for both death roll and the death rate. I don’t find the figure too surprising.

The number of cars in China, though rising steadily, is still much smaller compared to the western countries but the death rate on the road is much higher. Negligent drivers have been blamed for the major reason, many of them are new and reckless. Surely, the drivers should be far more careful. So are the pedestrians.

A few years ago, when I was watching CCTV news, I accidentally saw some gruesome images of traffic accident. The news item was about the growing accidents on a stretch of newly constructed high way in the outskirts of Beijing. People got hurt or ran over when they jumped over the fence to cross the street instead of using the fly-over. As the crew was filming the highway, a young man jumped over the fence and made a dash for the other end of the road without looking. A high-speed car hit him head on and sent him flying. The follow-up report revealed the young man was a migrant worker, who had arrived in Beijing only a few days earlier.

I think there should be a campaign to educate the general public to be more aware of the traffic and the danger of the traffic. For example, before you cross the road, you look around. There will be less people end up by my scooter!

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