Friday, July 03, 2009

No Seatbelts, No Worries

We are used to seatbelt and helmut laws, but not here. They do not wear seatbelts, use carseats (at least that I know of) and certainly not helmuts. Simply walking across the street is risky, as pedestrians do not have any right of way. Nolan's philosophy on the only driving rules here... "bigger wins." We learned that driving tests are not required in most cities and although our guides have said that there are plenty of traffic accidents that happen every day, we have yet to witness one. Kids as old as 8 are required to sit in a booster seat in the states, yet little kids ride around standing up in the back of small pick-up trucks or on the back of their parent's bikes without even holding on, with cars and buses whizzing by at rapid speeds. I saw a child, no more than 2-years old, riding on the back of a bike today with his little arms wrapped around his mom, and both of his mom's hands on the handlebars steering the bike. The only thing keeping that toddler safe was the strength of his two tiny hands. I know the parents here wouldn't purposely put their kids in danger, but it looks like a night and day comparison to the safety precautions we are so used to back home. But I guess we rode around without seatbelts and walking on the seats when we were kids and we turned out ok, right?

I had to post this picture to show a little example of how different things are.... We were on a highway headed to the Great Wall and several trucks passed us with men asleep by the open back door. This guy even had his leg hanging out - right there on the highway!

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Um, yes... the driving there... crazy. That is all I can say. It was quite an experience! (Amazingly, though, we didn't see ONE accident in our 15 days of driving in China.)