Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Crossing the road
In May, Pres. Medvedev signed a law, increasing fines for drivers who are not letting pedestrians cross the street from 100 to 1000 rubles. Most people I've talked to mentioned this law to me, in the context, did you notice that the cars these days wait for the pedestrians once in a while? And, indeed, half of the time the cars do let the pedestrians cross the street. The funny thing is, we the pedestrians are so conditioned to mistrust the drivers, everyone's behavior on the road is, at the moment, more erratic than ever. Today, for example, my mom called me from her walk to the subway station. She has only one street to cross to get there, and, crossing this one street, she and another pedestrian inadvertently caused a traffic jam. They both started crossing the street at the same time, in perpendicular directions. They walked cautiously, as usual, testing the waters at first, and returning to the curb once or twice before eventually venturing across. Meantime, some of the cars and the trams did stop and others didn't want to but were forced to stop because their path was blocked, and finally they all got so stuck, nobody could move forward for good ten minutes. Both my mom and the other pedestrian stood there and waited until all the cars drove away before they felt safe to move on their way as well.