How to cross an Indian Road

#1 Jun 7th, 2005, 17:03
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Sep 2004
  • Digital Drifter is offline
EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been promoted to the Articles section. You can read the article in its entirety here:
Last edited by nadreg; Mar 14th, 2008 at 08:10..
#2 Jun 7th, 2005, 17:30
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  • otwisted is offline
I told someone once - "Its like learning to walk on water - you cross the road one foot at a time"
#3 Jun 7th, 2005, 17:37
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Jun 2004
  • kiwi_razz is offline
There must be something about the roads in Bangalore because I sometimes find myself mentally theorizing about road crossing myself.

Its either:
"Zen and the art of Bangalore road crossings"
"use the force, Luke"

Either way, you have to think like a road user even if you a pedestrian. Imagine you are a rickshaw drivers and if you spot a gap, the go, and fill it with your body. You have as much right to the road as a motorbike, car, riskshaw, bus or truck, but remember you are softer and hurt more. Once you have started do not stop or change direction mid-crossing. Never run. Traffic will smell any fear you have so put put fear from your mind. Have humility and respect the traffic. Remember pride comes before a fall.

Its something that cannot necessarily be taught easily. It requires practice and meditation. Once you have mastered then the rewards are great, ie the ability to cross even 5 lanes of traffic without fear.

"Do, or do not, there is no try!"
#4 Jun 7th, 2005, 17:38
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  • Maz 1979 is offline
I just stepped out in front of the traffic and held my hand up, for some mysterious reason this always halted thetraffic dead in it's tracks!!
#5 Jun 7th, 2005, 17:48
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Cape Town
  • wandering_kat is offline
The "mantra" that entered my head when being a pedestrian or riding a moped in the traffic was.. "He who hesitates is squashed".
Sorry, but my karma just ran over your dogma
#6 Jun 7th, 2005, 18:02
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Mar 2004
Bangalore, India
  • manojb is offline
Here is what I do everyday:
Wait at the edge of the road. Keep looking left and right (it is a divided road, but who knows where vehicles are going to come from?). Wait patiently for vehicles to pass and a gap to appear. Of course, this never happens, so I get frustrated. Then run across half the road in front of a government bus with its horns screaming. Stand on the divider. Repeat all previous steps.

An auto rickshaw ran over my foot today while I was waiting to cross the road. I was wearing shoes, so no injuries.
#7 Jun 7th, 2005, 18:11
Discombobulated Elsewherean!
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  • PRIYA is offline
Originally Posted by Maz 1979 I just stepped out in front of the traffic and held my hand up, for some mysterious reason this always halted thetraffic dead in it's tracks!!
In India??
Happiness is for those who cry, those who hurt, those who have searched and those who have tried. For only they can appreciate the importance of people who have touched their lives. (Anon.)
#8 Jun 7th, 2005, 19:22
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Mar 2005
The Land of Enchantment. Soon.
  • Sama is offline
Originally Posted by Digital Drifter On busy roads, you will see a cluster of people inching into the
traffic like marathon runners before the starting gun. Join them. It
does not matter which side of the road you want to cross, a higher
intelligence decides that.

Rule 2: In a group, you're harder to get run over, so join them EVEN
if you don't want to cross a road.

Rule 3: Use the slipstream method above and you can cross anywhere you
desire. On a whim, just step into the traffic. The incoming traffice
will swerve with a toot of the horns; don't worry, you're already deaf
by the 2nd day in the country.

The selfish method is simple, you want to cross the road and you want
to do it now. Just look at the incoming traffic, lock into the
nearest driver in the eye and step into the traffic. Repeat process
two feet into the road.

Don't worry if the road crossing is 50 yards away.(see first
instruction), the important thing is you want to cross now.

Do not flinch in the face of an oncoming bike, just arch your body in
a make-believe show to indicate you are willing to make way for the biker
but will not budge from the current position.

and your point is? (...she said facetiously )

sounds like the way we Chicagoans cross the street in downtown Chicago. I'll feel right at home!
My India Photos, 2005-2017
"When you are truly genuine there will invariably be people who do not accept you. And in that case, you must be your own badass self, without apology." -- Katie Goodman
#9 Jun 7th, 2005, 22:04
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May 2004
  • Maz 1979 is offline
Originally Posted by lanismac In India??
Yeah, i too was very by it but hey it worked!
#10 Jun 7th, 2005, 22:12
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The OC
  • skell is offline
I felt safest in traffic when hanging out with a friendly cow.
#11 Jun 7th, 2005, 22:40
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san diego
  • vista is offline
The calcutta method of crossing roads is:
(for tourists..locals know the gig)

1. Make eye contact
2. Put out your hand palm facing the driver
3. make like moses crossing the red sea
4. cross. if you build it people will come, and pretty soon you have an impromptu pedastrian crossing.

5. if the driver as much as blinks, curse roundly.
#12 Jun 7th, 2005, 22:43
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May 2004
  • Maz 1979 is offline

It wiorks in Delhi too

The Calcutta method works in Delhi also but not Amritsar!
#13 Jun 7th, 2005, 22:48
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Jun 2004
Phoenix AZ
  • India Edge is offline
Once in Trivandrum at a road with what seemed like about 10 "lanes" of non stop rushing vehicles, we just completely chickened out and hired an auto rickshaw even though we had only a couple blocks more to go to the University.
#14 Jun 7th, 2005, 23:03
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Oct 2004
Chennai, India
  • Nick-H is offline
Originally Posted by Digital Drifter ... ... ... You'll be safe though, on the
pavement. ... ... ...
Well, D-D, I know you're a native with a lifetime experience of this, but this last seems to me the one thing you got wrong .

Maybe it's different in Bangalore, but here in Chennai there is an interesting fact about pavements...

Nobody walks on them

Why? That's easy: they are just far too dangerous!

They are full of huge holes that, once you fall down you will never be seen again. If you manage too keep an eye open for the holes you will cut your head open on the piece of angle iron, or corner of a billboard that you didn't see. Keep your eyes up and ahead and, if you are lucky enough to miss the holes you will spoil your day by stepping in something unspeakable.

This is what pavements are for...
  • Sleeping on
  • Setting up fruit stalls on
  • Selling anything else on
  • Parking vehicles on (except where the curb is 18 inches high, of course)
  • Using as a public convenience
  • Feeding place for cows
  • Feeding place for families
  • Running a motor-bike repair shop
  • Building a temple on
  • Place to grow a huge tree (nice that they don't cut the down here...)
  • Place to display whatever the adjacent shop sells
The list could probably go on and on, but the bottom line is that people don't walk on pavements: they walk in the road!
Life gets aadhar every day.
#15 Jun 7th, 2005, 23:20
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Nov 2003
  • Wanderer22 is offline

Chicken method

The technique that worked for me was to attach myself to a crowd of locals who were trying to cross. I would stand slightly down stream and watch what they did. As a gap appeared in traffic they would inch forward... If the gap opened the crowd would cross as a group with me in the lee of a human buffer. It appeared that drivers were not concerned about running over one or two people, but anything over a dozen stopped them.
Indian traffic hones your sense of self preservation to a razor edge.


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