Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lanes not being lanes :)

There is a good reason why people take time to draw lines to make lanes on the road. Lanes are there in conjunction with certain rules such as one car per lane in order to produce a better combination of travel safety and efficiency. And, it certainly minimizes the head-on collisions which were a part of the reasons why lanes were invented.

Here in Bangalore, too, most roads have lanes. But what's different from other countries like the US and Japan is that people completely ignore the lanes. Actually it might be better to say that they seem to consider a line dividing the lanes to be another lane. So, if you have one lane dividing a road into two, people consider it as a three lane street (^^)v

And on top of that, there are so many motorcycles and auto rickshaws (which are smaller than normal cars), they squeeze into whatever the space available on the road. So, if there are two lanes, people consider it as three lanes, and every single open space among these lanes would be occupied by motorcycles and auto rickshaws.  It probably would look pretty (like a mosaic) if you took a satellite picture of Bangalore streets.

Anyway, it is mainly the reason why people honk all the time, as you cannot really see what's behind you on the side mirrors.  Honking is considered to be a friendly precaution to let other drivers know where your car is.

One thing I noticed is that most of the auto rickshaws turn their engines off at the intersection when the light is red. You can pretty much enjoy the moment of "quietness" (note that the honking on the cross road continues) for a while, and then right before the light turns green, the engines and honkings start as if everyone is going on a race or something. The sound is not that unpleasant, though. It pretty much reminds me of the philharmonic members tuning their instruments before the concert. It is actually musical :)

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