Liuzhou Laowai

Random thoughts on life in Liuzhou, Guangxi, China


I had to laugh. I know I shouldn’t, but…

I was walking home this morning and, for some reason, my eye happened to fall on one motorcycle in the scrum of motorcycles which was passing.

The rider was chatting on his mobile phone as he went along, “controlling” his bike with one hand. He was obviously having problems, as his crash helmet was obstructing his phone’s access to his ear. In his efforts not to miss the important news his interlocutor was trying to convey, he tried to shove the phone up under the helmet, thereby dislodging it. As the helmet toppled from his head he grabbed at it – with the other hand! Phone in one hand, helmet in the other. Hey, who’s driving this bike?

Next thing, there was a pile of motorcycle, helmet and rider in the middle of the road. The guy sat up and looked around himself in puzzlement. “How did that happen?” you could see him think. To my great satisfaction his phone was scattered across the road in several pieces.

It is often said that China has only 2% of the world’s vehicles, but 20% of the world’s accidents. Although the figures vary with every telling (a bit like the Eskimo’s mythical 100 words for snow), I think there may be an element of truth in it. Driving standards are dire. Many reasons are given for this. My own opinion is that stupidity and selfishness are the main cause.

The guy was lucky. It was daytime. Liuzhou motorcyclists are obliged by law to wear helmets and the traffic police do enforce it. However, they only work 9 to 5! After that, whatever loose rules there may be go out of the window and it’s “Me First!” time. Without helmets.

. This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 16th, 2005 at 10:10 pm and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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