Monday, May 2, 2011

Red Light, Green Light, No Light...

(PICTURE: A roundabout in Da Lat. This is clearly an old picture I found online because there are A LOT more cars/bikes/buses these days.)

Right now we're in Da Lat, one of my favorite cities in Vietnam. This is my second time here but my first time noticing something -- there are NO TRAFFIC LIGHTS in the city. When I came here in 2008, I wasn't yet riding a motorbike so I guess I didn't pay attention to small things like traffic lights. Now that I'm on a bike, it's hard not to notice the lack of lights.

I did some quick googling and it turns out Da Lat is the 20th largest city in Vietnam. I had thought it was probably top 10 but apparently it's not. According to another google search I did, Boston is the 20th largest city in America (based on population). Can you imagine if Boston didn't have any traffic lights? Frankly, I can't even imagine if my hometown didn't have any traffic lights.

A local told us that since the city is very hilly, people used to not be able to stop when going downhill and thus there were no red lights. Instead, they have a ton of roundabouts at major intersections.

While I was thinking about this blog today, it occurred to me that I hadn't seen any accidents in Da Lat...but sure enough, a minute later there were two motorbikes at roundabout, fresh off a minor accident.