By Mika Rekai - Friday, January 11, 2013 - 0 Comments
Traffic wardens are targeting those on foot
In China’s densely populated cities, it’s not uncommon to see cars driving on the wrong side of the street, barrelling down bike lanes or even parked on the sidewalks. In the last two decades, as the number of motorists has grown astronomically, Chinese roads have become a Wild West of traffic violations. In 2011, nearly 70,000 people were killed in traffic accidents, and tens of thousands more were injured. But last month, traffic wardens began fining some of China’s most prevalent lawbreakers: pedestrians.
While some have lauded the government for enforcing any traffic laws at all—speed limits and red lights are routinely ignored—critics say targeting pedestrians is ineffective and unfair.
“Chinese drivers don’t stop at traffic lights, so either you jaywalk or you don’t cross the street,” says Tyler Ehler, a Canadian student living in Nanjing. The problem, says Ehler, is the driving class has simply grown too large, too fast—“teenagers are learning to drive at the same time as their parents.” A country full of new drivers, he says, is bound to have its share of traffic accidents.
While some dismiss traffic accidents as mere growing pains, others question whether China’s thousands of road fatalities are an inevitable consequence of its rise.
By Erica Alini - Thursday, January 13, 2011 at 12:40 PM - 1 Comment
South Koreans reconsider whether receiving a perfectly hot pizza at their door is worth the cost
Fast-food delivery can be a deadly business. In South Korea, accidents involving motorcycle delivery men topped 4,000 in the last five years (1,395 in 2009 alone), and fatal collisions, labour unions say, have probably reached into the double digits in the last decade. So the government is taking action: last week, it launched an advertising campaign to increase public awareness of the dangers. In addition to ads on radio and TV, the effort includes distributing leaflets citing delivery men injury rates to customers at the very restaurants and food chains that have made breakneck rides a staple of South Korea’s fast-food culture. “It’s not that I want to deliberately disobey traffic laws, but when you have customers breathing down your neck, it’s really hard not to,” delivery man Bang Chang-min told the L.A. Times. “When I’m on a bike, I’m under so much pressure that I feel I transform into somebody else.”
All this deadline pressure is why motorcycles zigzagging through traffic, running red lights and even driving on the sidewalk has become so common, say local activists. But the increasing number of injuries and recent death of a Pizza Hut delivery man is forcing South Koreans to reconsider whether receiving a perfectly hot pizza at their door is worth the cost.