headermask image

roaming the world and enjoying the scenery...

Bombay Traffic: Rules are fine, but Laws don’t count

Traffic SceneFor most people who have driven in India, there is a glaring omission in the “Rules of the Road” below. Where, oh where is the “Stoplights are Merely a Suggestion” rule? I decided to include it in the next chapter of Bombay Traffic, simply because – just like ogres and onions – there are many layers to that idea.

Stoplights are routinely ignored, leading to harrowing games of chicken, as the “Bigger is Better” rule comes into effect (and its corollary – “Momentum Determines Right-of-Way” – meaning that speed also comes into play). Vehicles will poke their noses into lanes of cross traffic, attempting to create enough of a bottleneck so as to allow them (and other jammed up drivers going the same way) to establish their right to cross the intersection.

Traffic CopsThe police, when present, are somewhat effective at stopping some of this, as no one likes to have to pay a small “fee,” especially when most of the rupees end up in the cops’ pockets.

A common sight is of a group of officers – sometimes including  women – sitting around on various corners, getting up from time to time to make a stop. They seem to especially like pulling over motorcycles, as they are easy marks for harassment. In any case, just having them around will sometimes discourage red-light-runners.

So with the obvious role of police in trying to stem some of the crazy driving habits, as well as the school’s dedication to following the letter of the law here, we found it curious that our bus drivers routinely blast through red lights and speed on the way to school in the morning, and asked them about it.

The response was hilarious in its simplicity. The drivers said, apparently in all seriousness, “According to Indian law, traffic regulations are not valid before 8am. We are not breaking the regulations, because they don’t apply before that time in the morning.”  What a great idea!

If you like the Stutzfamily blog, feel free to subscribe to our rss feed

One Comment

  1. One comment over on Facebook as well.

    1. Dave on May 17th, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared.