Safety and Laws in the 3rd World - Kawasaki Vulcan Forum : Vulcan Forums
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 06:17 AM Thread Starter
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Cool Safety and Laws in the 3rd World

I've lived in 4 different countries, the USA up till I was 55, then China, Thailand and now the Philippines. I'm now 67 and I think I have a pretty good handle on how things work here.

First off, Might Makes Right. It's an old sailing term, which means, while a sailboat always has the right of way, there are exceptions, such as a ship in a shipping channel.
In the 3rd world it is kind of the same thing. While we have the reverse philosophy when it comes to right of way, in the 3rd world, the pedestrian is the low man on the totem pole. Cars habitually make their way through crowded crosswalks and the people watch out for them. No one seems to get upset because that is the way it is. Which is why westerners get mowed down from time to time, assuming a car will stop when they cross the street. Yea, it takes some getting used too. Just remember, you are not #1, the big rigs are, then large vehicles, then small trucks and large cars, then cars, then motorcycles, then bicycles and finally, you and me.

When left does not mean left.
The left turn signal means two things, I am making a left turn, or go around me. You have to be somewhat clairvoyant to figure it out and I used to really get upset, now I just go with the flow.

Left and right turns from the center, even the far lane. For some reason people seem to think their turning radius is that of a Mac Trunk.

The left lane on the expressways is the slow lane for some. The signs clearly state for slow traffic to use the right lanes, but some either can't read, or they think the signs do not apply to them.

On the expressway the left turn lane is also the U turn lane. There is no cut out, there is only an opening and so the left lane, being the fast lane, is also the stop and go lane. For some reason, that defies logic, it seems they have not figured out traffic flow into places like malls. They use the U Turn lanes so everyone who is trying to jockey into position are using up 3 of 4 lanes on the expressway. From 10 in the morning till 7 at night, around major shopping area's it's gridlock.

There are helmet, shoe and clothing laws here, but they are not rigorously enforced. Many times I will see motorcyclists wearing their helmets slung across their elbows and wearing flip flops, t-shirts and shorts.

When there is an accident, the rule that must be obeyed, do not move the vehicles till the police say it's ok, which of course causes gridlock.

The roads suck, even new roads. The expressway I have referred too I use from the city to my house. The road bed is cement, so you'd think it would be nice and smooth, it's not. Each ten yard section of road is laid down by hand. It's not the sections that are bad, it is the mating up with next section that sucks. Sometimes it gets so bad that it feels like a roller coaster. Which is why highway speeds of 70 in the states is unheard of here, more like 45 to maybe 55 and that is pushing it.

There are several things I like:

I have rarely experienced road rage and most of that seems to come from westerners who think every country should drive like theirs. I wish that were so, but reality and wishful thinking are two different things.

Cops don't chase vehicles down, it acts like more of an honor system here. Obey the cops because, while they may not have Motorola, they do have a pen and paper and when you go to renew your registration, you maybe dinged.

I have never seen a cop car in hot pursuit, never, ever. It doesn't work that way here. What they have are roadside checks where cars pull over, if motioned to do so, show their papers, insurance, etc and depending on a violation, they are given a ticket, or the vehicle can be impounded. It seems people obey the cops if told to pull over. Cops are not usually in cars, I see them on the sidewalks more often than not. I have been pulled over once by a cop on the sidewalk when I made a left turn that was clearly marked not too. The cop was nice, we talked, he told me what I did was wrong, I admitted fault and that was it, no ticket, no fuss.

It seems the government has not caught up to the fact that traffic fines are a huge source of revenue. They do not have red light camera's here.

There is certainly more of a laid back atmosphere when it comes to driving and watching out for the other guy. It is considered polite to give a little beep-beep when passing a car. People don't make wild maneuvers, they ease in and out of lanes and when merging onto a busy road, they find whatever opening they can get to merge and no one seems to get upset. It all moves along in a drug induced schizophrenic coma and it seems to work for them. So who am I to say they are wrong, and we are right. I would assume, because of their driving habits that accidents would be as common as mosquitoes, but with all my travels here, I have never seen a major accident.

But I will say this, to the people in the third world, wear your helmet on your head, not draped across your elbow unless of course that is where you think your brain is. At the very least, wear long sleeve shirts, better yet a motorcycle jacket. Long pants, no shorts and get rid of the flip flops. All that goes for your passenger too. No one is allowed to ride on the back of my motorcycle without a helmet, long pants, shoes and long sleeve shirt or jacket. NO EXCEPTIONS!

The mystery
Go down to their version of the DMV to get a drivers handbook, but there is no such thing. Never seen one in a book store. I've seen lots of driving schools though.

The photo below was used to help illustrate a book my friend wrote about living in the Philippines.
I had other photos which I can't seem to locate that have a family of 6 on a motorcycle that small.
The laws that are in place are not always followed and unless someone does something really stupid, the police can't be bothered.

Trapster
Don't drink and drive, not even one beer, save that for after the ride.
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 10:10 AM
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Anyone that has never driven (or personally observed) traffic, laws and driving techniques overseas is missing out on some great entertainment! Here in the good 'ole USA we become accustomed to precise driving, lane usage and laws. It's easy to think that that's how the rest of the world does it. That is soooo not the case!

Roads, traffic and the conveyances they employ In the PI is my absolutely favorite. I especially enjoy the Jeepneys! I could regale the forum with many stories about riding in Jeepneys. How I survived the Trike races is nothing short of a miracle. Throw 100 pesos at a Trike driver and they will do just about anything.

Your right about the American responses to actions on the roads and Highways. Overseas it can be VERY different.

My favorite moment in regards to that subject occurred in Italy. I was in Naples walking through some streets outside the City center. I was finding the traffic jams amusing. As I saw it, the congestion was caused by the drivers themselves. The jam was not orderly by any means. Apparently it's OK to use the lanes and intersections how you see fit to deal with the congestion. This only made things worse, IMO.

There were some cars parked and others using the edge parking to deal with the jam. Just point your car through any hole you can get through. We were watching the congestion at an intersection. It was hard to determine what direction lanes were suppose to be driven because the cars were in all directions with no meaningful logic at all.

We witnessed a driver that saw a hole that maybe he could squeeze through. He slowly eased the car into the narrow hole. It wasn't quite big enough. But this didn't stop him. We could hear the high pitched screeching as he slowly pushed through the cars.

I thought' "Oh it's on now! The other drivers are gonna go crazy cause he's scraping their cars!"

Nope! I was watching all the pedestrians and drivers to see how this would unfold...and it was if nothing unusual was occurring. This was obviously business as usual. That's when I realized I was watching the scene through American eyes with American preconceptions.

Who am I to judge? They seemed to be perfectly OK with it. In the U.S. that incident would have probably turned into a riot!


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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 04:00 PM
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My eyes were opened when I went to Jamaica in 1978. The drivers only knew gas pedal and horn. I saw a sign that said "Bridge Out Ahead" and the driver wasn't slowing down. Next thing I knew, we were driving off road behind someone's house then back on the road again, never slowing down. Made me appreciate U.S. Driving Laws.

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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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When I was in China for the first time, I was in the car with a woman who liked to yap all the time and not pay attention to the road. At one point, in Shanghai, we had approached a bridge that spirals around 3 or 4 times to get up to the deck going over the river and we were going like 10mp as she was straddling the center line. I thought we were going to die because she was oblivious to everything around her and she would not keep her mouth shut.

My friend, who was from Cameroon said, "hey bro, relax, this is China and no one gives a sh*t, besides, the average driver here has 6 years of driving experience, in your country it's over 20."

That explains a lot, having a car in the USA is a right of passage among almost all social classes, in all of Asia (and much of the rest of the world), driving a car is new to most with this, being the first generation behind the wheel.

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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 10:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Trapster View Post
...
The left lane on the expressways is the slow lane for some. The signs clearly state for slow traffic to use the right lanes, but some either can't read, or they think the signs do not apply to them.
...
We use exactly the same "system" in the great state of Washington.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-21-2018, 11:00 PM
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I'm not sure about other US cities/states, but one thing I loved about Las Vegas when I drove trucks OTR is going up and down I-15, the city prefers trucks to be in the far left lanes. Helps ease congestion during rush hour thanks to the large trucks being away from the exits and on-ramps they can't use in the casino district. Kinda wish they'd do that in more places, it really helps.

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 02:02 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by _Kodiak_ View Post
I'm not sure about other US cities/states, but one thing I loved about Las Vegas when I drove trucks OTR is going up and down I-15, the city prefers trucks to be in the far left lanes. Helps ease congestion during rush hour thanks to the large trucks being away from the exits and on-ramps they can't use in the casino district. Kinda wish they'd do that in more places, it really helps.
In California, that would be the commute lane. I got lite up once with my kid in his baby seat, but the cop couln't see him, so I had him raise his hands, got unlit and the cop pulled up beside me and gave me a thumbs up.

One of the most traffic congested cities in the world, is Manila, Philippines, where trucks are banned at certain hours, not sure when because I avoid that city as if I was about to step on a mound of fire ants. But sometimes I think that here, they are actively adding to congestion on purpose. Like the Airport, there is no people mover or monorail system to move people from terminal to terminal, it's either by bus, taxi or private car. During rush hour it can take an hour to go from one terminal to the other. Every major airport I have been in is a godsend compared to Manila, no matter how screwed up the airport is. There are some web sites that claim Manila has the worst airport in the world. At the very least, I'd put it up there with the top five. I've heard improvements are coming, but like most things in the Philippines, the question then becomes, when? A year, ten years, 50 years, what?

In Beijing, Shanghai and I believe other cities in China, traffic jams were getting so bad that they were forced to put in a lottery to buy a car. Not sure about motorcycles.

In China, I had a few dealers who refused to sell me a gas powered motorcycle, only electric, the excuse being, I was to old to drive a real motorcycle.

When it comes to driving in a foreign country, the rule is very simple, "when in Rome........................"

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After you put your scooter to bed.

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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 07-22-2018, 10:32 AM
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