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.