Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Jay-walking or Bridge-crossing? (And the Winning Photo)


Text and pictures by © Eki Qushay Akhwan, all rights reserved.

People using the pedestrian crossing bridge to cross the street like in the above photo is probably a common sight in some other countries, but it is not in Bandung. Many people here prefer to jaywalk to cross the street rather than using the pedestrian crossing bridge. One of the reasons is perhaps because our streets are relatively narrow and it takes more time and energy to cross them safely using the pedestrian crossing bridge than jaywalking, despite the risks. But then, when it is an expected thing, everybody knows what to do. Motorists would usually slow down and yield to jaywalkers when they already give a gesture with their hands that they want to cross the street. It's a kind of mutual understanding that makes up our "street culture". Of course, sometimes accidents do happen, but, amazingly, they are very rare.


The government has of course made the necessary efforts to promote the use of pedestrian crossing bridge. There are laws and regulations that give protection to pedestrians who use the crossing bridge or the zebra cross to cross the street (a legal protection that is not given to jaywalkers), but without enforcement, the old habit seems to die hard.

It's good to see that more and more people begin to use the pedestrian crossing bridge like in the top photo which I took on Jalan Raya Cimahi, a town about 12 kilometers west of Bandung. (Cimahi is administratively a separate municipality, but it is still part of the Greater Bandung area.)

I took the bottom photo on Asia Afrika Street (Bandung's main street and city center). A similar picture that I took has won a prize worth $US 200 from Reader's Digest Asia and been published in its May 2008 edition. You can check it out here.


JM said...

Changing habits allways take some time... but little by little people will get used to it.
Your photos are just great and I must congratulate you for the winning one! You deserved the prize! :-)

gadhogadho said...

Hi Eki!

Thanks for the link to my blog.

Being an expat, initially I was amazed at how people here cross busy roads with such great ease. After a while I realised that drivers here are a tolerant lot. One simply need to flap down the hand in the direction of the oncoming traffic and before you know it, voila!, you're on the other side of the road. I'm proud to say that I've mastered this skill. Hehe..

Btw, I just love the pics featured in your blog.

Dina said...

changing is always an issue with everyone. But it is there and it needs to be tackled. You have a very interesting set of photos here.

Virginia said...

Great photos today Eki. My goodness, actual money for doing something you love to do. How grand!

Anonymous said...

I always enjoy reading about your photos.. In the town I live in there are not to many jaywalkers and we have no pedestrian bridges.. People I dont think are brave enough to cross 4 lanes of traffic that is going 45- 50 miles per hour..Congrats on winning with your photo!!

Saut said...

congratz for the prize winning photo. love Bandung always!