Thursday, August 27, 2009

Red Light, Green Light

When they say pedestrians have the right-of-way, they really mean it in Sweden.

There are two different types of crosswalks in Stockholm. The first is with a light system allowing you to cross when it shows a green little man walking. The second is a cross walk with no light. In these crosswalks, pedestrian trumps driver and here a pedestrian can cross at any time.

If a car sees a pedestrian it must stop on a dime to let them go. The crazy part is--they actually do. I have seen many cars come to screeching halts to let the cross walkers cross. It seems backwards to me because I think it's much easier to stop your legs than to stop a 3,000-4,000 pound car.

Even more mystifying is the unwavering faith that the crossers seem to have that the cars will always stop. They obliviously cross even as a car is speeding toward them. Half the time they do not even give a glance as though maybe they have some apprehension. That maybe this vehicle could be the one that was going to keep going.

It think maybe it has something to do with an almost child-like naivety many Swedes seem to have. A microcosmic sized example of self preservation taking a backseat to the belief in the system.

1 comment:

  1. A very astute observation. I saw this in college with the large contingent of Dutchies (as we called them) that we in college with me. The whole self preservation vs belief in Government. They were amazed we thought the government in most cases were bumbling idiots. They were aghast at our dislike of the college administrators ridiculous pronouncement as well.