Wednesday, March 21, 2012


Speaking of traffic, it's hard enough to get it flowing smoothly and safely in Beijing at the best of times, let alone when traffic flow systems conspire against us as well.
A few months ago while driving in the expat community of Shunyi, just outside Beijing, I was stopped at a set of traffic lights waiting to turn left from the Tianbei Highway into Anhua Lu. It's where you have to turn to get to a couple of large schools. Finally, the arrow went green, and I went left - straight into the path of oncoming traffic.
With my daughters in the back seat, I was horrified to see not one but two oncoming cars did not stop, or even slow down, but went straight on towards us. I accelerated and only just made it, and was left fuming at the rogue drivers who'd almost hit us.
But when I stopped around the corner to glare after them - I thought they might wave apologies or something - I was even more stunned to see that in fact it wasn't their fault. They too had had a green light to go straight ahead.
I have approached the intersection cautiously ever since. Then last week as I was approaching, I saw this:
Who'd have thought a set of lights that sends one car into
the path of another could result in this? The red car was in
my position, turning left with a green arrow. The beige one,
travelling straight with a green light, didn't miss. 

From the other angle, the beige car was heading the same
way as the cement truck in this shot (and yes, you could
make an argument to the truck driver that this light
appears pretty red).
Thankfully, noone was hurt. Surely it's only a matter of time.

I then found another such situation nearby, at the intersection of the Tianbei Highway and the Jingmi Highway (the green arrow turning left off the Jingmi sends traffic across the path of those heading north on the same road).

If you're approaching these intersections, be careful. And since the authorities don't appear to be noticing this state of affairs, perhaps someone reading this can alert the authorities. Schools should know who to approach. (And yes I looked around but could not find a police station).


  1. The exact same thing happened to me at the Jingshun Lu junction. I exchanged some pretty filthy looks with some truckers before i realised that they also had a green light and were wondering WTF this stupid expat was doing.

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