Share the Road. Get off the Sidewalk.

January 5th, 2012
Location: My Living Room
Time: 8:38pm

Today, I read a story about a Finnish man who is using tai chi in an effort to force Chinese drivers to respect pedestrians.  I don’t understand the majority of what he’s saying because it’s in Chinese but at one point he illustrates his tactics by stopping directly in front of a bus, planting his feet, fists on hips in a pseudo Superman stance, eyeing down the bus driver and giving a defiant “STOP.”

How this man hasn’t died after 11 years in China is beyond me.  By all rights, dude should definitely be road kill. Maybe his stellar pony tail is giving him special mojo powers.  I don’t know, but Hakulinen has inspired me to consider what initiatives I can take to improve Shanghai.

Problem 1: Rogue Bikers
Both manual and motorized, these free wheelers seem to have mistaken the sidewalk (emphasis on the walk) for their own personal thoroughfare. Even more so than vehicles, cyclists think that the rules of the road (loose as those are in China) don’t apply to those with only 2 wheels.  They will run red lights without discretion, go the wrong way down one-ways, and knock over anyone in their path.  Sometimes this is accompanied by a warning honk, offering just enough time to dive out of their path before sure and sudden death.

But no more.

I will do my part by using any and every part of my body (but probably mostly just my arms) to push the offending motorists to the hard, unforgiving pavement.  I will employ the classic stiff arm maneuver, or if need be, the clothesline.  Both, I imagine, will be highly effective in showing these rogue cyclists the error of their 

Problem 2: Offending Motorists
Bigger, strong, and faster than a mere human beings, these machines can and will kill you if you enter their path.  White crosswalk lines mean nothing.  The concept of stopping at a red light if you are turning right, despite the fact that there are pedestrians in front of you, is meaningless.

Obviously, I’m no Jean Valjean and so using the same tactic as I do on bikes would prove disastrous.  But neither am I a Hakulinen.  Mostly, tai chi just looks silly to me.  No, I’m more of a Malcolm X – pacifism be damned.  My plan is to carry on my person, at all times, a brick.  If and when a vehicle attempts to run me over as I innocently take the right of way and cross the street, I will simply throw the brick through the offender’s window.  And then I will run like mad.  If the outraged driver should catch up with me, I will be able to use the enormous strength that brick toting has prepared me for, and I will either a) knock him or her flat on their back or b) take out the second brick I will always inevitably carry and smash his or her face in. And again run like mad. 

These are just some small ways I can help to improve the safety of all bi-peds in the greater Shanghai area.

What will you do?

If you happen to be on the receiving end of these acts and would like to file a complaint, I offer you only this:

Ignorance of my initiatives is no excuse.

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