Friday, December 5, 2008

Bandung Street Documentary # 8: Jaywalkers on Merdeka Street



An American friend of mine who visited Bandung once commented that, unlike the traffic pattern he's used to experiencing in his home country, the traffic here seemed to be "oozing" - flowing just like that: without following strict rules, everybody seems to know what to do. There is some sort of tacit negotiation going on among the street users that tolerate each other's "erratic" traffic behaviors. Well that may be true. Traffic behavior, just like any other public acts, is a cultural phenomenon.

Jaywalking like this may be frowned upon where you are, but here it's just a day to day reality. We do have rules about road crossing, but most of us seem to choose just to ignore them, especially when there are no police guards around. Do they cause a lot of traffic accidents? Amazingly no. Traffic accidents in places like this is surprisingly very low.

I took this photo - yes, ironically - from a crossing bridge. This scene took place on Merdeka street, one of Bandung's commercial and busiest streets, where Bandung Indah Plaza (BIP) is located.

7 comments:

Dina said...

That scene is kind of scary.
Well, I guess you would feel right at home on Israel streets.

Mahmud Yussop said...

Frightening. You'll never know when luck is not on their side.

Mike said...

Hello! I am not sure that would be good in NYC ha.

Kemsey said...

Oh but there's a way to do it. You raise your arm gesturing a 'stop' sign to any incoming traffic coming your way. Miraculously, they always give you your way with no reservation. Now on to the next lane. Just like a live video game!

Catherine said...

I understand absolutely what youo mean. Your picture illustrate perfectly the situation. I "feel" the speed, and the danger to be pedestrian.
I think that traffic is a little hectic in many countries. In our Latin countries it can be the same.
Try to cross the Place de l'Arc de Triomphe (It's forbidden, in fact) and you have the same feeling as in Bandung! But you'll be in the center of Paris.

the donG said...

same here in the philippines.

ramblingwoods said...

That looks really scary. I wonder how many people get hit by a car..