Safety-ism, is it too much? (travelogue)
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Safety-ism, is it too much? (travelogue)

  1. #1
    Registered User Array michael's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Under the radar. Hopefully.
    Honda. Still. Again.

    Safety-ism, is it too much? (travelogue)

    Just got back from Dominican Republic, where motorcycle/scooter appears to be the preferred mode of travel (only affordable?) for a lot of locals.
    No helmets. Saw 3 helmets, one was a full faced..

    Some had a working headlight, and tail light, but rarely both.
    Families of 3 or even 4 on a 100cc motorcycle, threading their way through traffic. Babies in arms, scooting along at 50 kph on the shoulder of the road.
    Cargo, such as pigs, water jugs, propane tanks, construction tools and equipment, all on small motorcycles.
    In contrast to our highly regulated, "safety-ized," world, the majority of this world's population survives on basic skills and common sense. Even the simple act of embarking on a 40 foot glass bottom boat would have the safety mavens having fits. And yet, this goes on all the time, in most of the world.
    Interesting contrast, is how the theme comes across to me.

    The asphalt, probably 45 wife on most of the roads I encountered, had no center line. Vehicles merely travelled in the spots without the pot holes. So if a large tour bus rolled down into first gear, and drove into the opposing lane of traffic, smaller vehicles could pass it on it's right. If another, oncoming vehicle, wanted to navigate the rough section, it too, would pass on the "opposite," side.
    As if lanes existed, not on the ground, but in the trajectory of the vehicle passing over it. Near misses? I wonder what a near miss is. George Carlin says a miss is a miss, a near miss is a collision.
    No anger, no hand waiving, or fingering, the occasional "beep," as an attention getter, and smaller, slower traffic gave way.
    I'm beginning to like that idea. I never saw the equivalent of a Geo Metro grinding up an upgrade, that did not yield to faster traffic. The concept of "left lane Louie's," doesn't seem to exist there.
    Despite traffic is moving around you, on both sides, both oncoming and from behind, there appears to be respect for the individual motorist/cyclist to have an exit route, or easy manner of yielding for "larger and faster."
    Interesting to watch, more interesting to ride a bike in.
    Perhaps then, in Canada, it's the attitude of the driver's, more than the construction of the road, size of the tail lights, the lane markings or the signs alongside the road?
    I dunno, but it was refreshing to see so many motorists, and so many cell phones, but neither being used *at the same time.*
    I'm off to renew the plate on my bike now...with a renewed sense of integrating into traffic....

    Anyone else sense a vast difference in motoring skills from North Americans to other parts of the world?

  2. Remove Advertisements

  3. #2
    Gear Driven Cams Array Spike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2003
    Langley, BC
    None right now...
    I just came back from China, and I noticed a number of the same things you did. Shanghai is full of LPG-powered scooters. Only a small percentage of the owners wear helmets, but a surprising number of those wear full-face. The further south I got (towards Shenzhen, and then Hong Kong) the larger the bikes got, up to 125cc or 250cc in Shenzhen. Still, no helmets. Not uncommon to see three people on a bike. Not uncommon for one of those people to be carrying a baby as well. Odd.

    The consideration in China is status. Higher-status people will drive faster, use their horn more, and stay in the left lane on the highway more. We passed a number of Audi's on the right. We passed all of the Hondas on the left. Cars would merge into and out of lanes to avoid pedestrians, motorcycles, cars, potholes, whatever, and nobody seemed to mind. A horn here and there to make people aware of where you are, but never an angry horn, just a warning.

    It's a different world, all right. I could easily learn to live that way, but I don't think the lower mainland on the whole could.
    My Picasa Album

  4. #3
    Registered User Array michael's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Under the radar. Hopefully.
    Honda. Still. Again.
    It's a different world, all right. I could easily learn to live that way, but I don't think the lower mainland on the whole could.
    Too bad really. After considering my temporary surprise, it then seems like an affective way to move people around more quickly.....and we're doing badly here in north america.
    Of course, educating an entire population to our way of thinking, now that's impossible.

  5. #4

    Common sight in SE Asia

    I was born and grew up in Indonesia, and used to ride during my school days and beyond for about 7 years. The sight of whole family of 4, 5 even 6 riding on a bike was (and is still) quite common there. Traffic situation pretty much the same too.

    At some point I was helping my neighbor carrying 4 20-kg baskets of mushroom daily for about 2 years. The most we carried was 6 baskets. And helping my parents' business buying some stuff like 10 40-lbs bags of popcorn, baskets of vegetables, eggs or other groceries. Oh, that was the good 'ol days. Those were done on a small, 100 - 135cc bikes.

    I wish I have a bike now...

  6. #5
    . . . Array taiwantrev's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    around the corner
    ef or eye

    If you thought driving in Richmond was bad..

    ..try living in their homeland!

    This is my first 'real' post, although i've been lurking and soaking up info since last summer. While from the lower mainland, I've spent the past two and a half years living in Taiwan, and travelling around Asia. I thought this would be the perfect thread for me to chime in on.

    Driving/Riding here has been a complete eye opener. Every day there is a near death experience, being blatently cut off at least two or three times per ride, and more head scratching "wtf are you doing"s than you can shake a stick at.

    The question/thought involved in the first post is safety. I think driving in North America is quite safe indeed. Minus the rampant cell-phone trend, most drivers have a decent amount of training, common sense, and ability to get from point A to B without killing themselves, or others.

    I wish i could say the same for Taiwan. It seems like most people here are completely absent minded/ incompetent as motor vehicle opperators (which is what most see in Richmond). Rarely do people look before they pull into traffic, or use their turn signals, or even lights at night for that matter. It is pretty unbelievable the lack of common sense and failure to obey basic traffic safety rules (red lights apparently are a suggestion).

    I've seen my fair share of crazy things, including some of what michael was talking about - a family of 4 or 5 on a 100cc scooter, people driving opposite the flow of traffic (in the wrong lane). Because of the lack of parking, and lack of caring about others, parking your car in the middle of the street, or triple parked is commonplace as well. I think the craziest amount of cargo i ever saw was a tie between: A rather portly guy who had three GIANT sacks of laundry on his scooter, so much so that he could just barely reach the bars or see over the top. An old man who, on his 50cc scooter, managed to strap a queen size matress to the back, and proceded to run through a red light at a large intersection. Nutty!

    I think it comes down to training. BC does a pretty good job (especially with the graduated licensing system now) at training drivers; and for the saftey of others on the road, making it less than easy to get an unrestricted license. While some may disagree with this, I encourage you to see how drivers elsewhere opperate. It really comes down to respect; respect for other drivers. Spike hit the nail on the head, it would be impossible to educate the entire population on new driving techniques. But ultimately if each driver had respect for others, and right of way was given not taken, it would be a much safer and more pleasing drive for everyone.

    I am coming home in the summer, and plan on attending Pacific Riding School and buying a bike. The thing I am dreading the most, is riding with the rest of the drivers in BC who are not motorcycle aware.. While i have painted the majority of Taiwanese drivers in a rather bad light, I will give them kudos for knowing that there are scooters zipping around them like flies on a..; as its part of their culture. Who knows how long that will take for BC.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts