Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Road Rules

Have you ever watched a motor cross race on ESPN or some channel on tv? You know how all those motorcycles are lined up in no particular order and then someone waves a flag and KABOOM! They're taking off like bats out of hell? Well that is what every single red light / green light is like here in Penang.
No matter how far the first car in line is hugging the intersection line all the small little one or two stroke engine motorcycles and their drivers butt in line ahead of you. They zig zag in and out of cars and in between the lanes until they are as far to the front of the line as they can get. It can get really crazy when you are surrounded my these motorcycles. Sometimes there are as many as 2 dozen motorcycles.
  • No doubt you will have about five or six Indians. Some are big boys too.
  • Four or five ancient Chinese men with smokes hanging out of their mouths ( these old guys all have ramrod straight backs and their legs poking out in very wide obsene angles... )
  • And at least one or two Malay families with at least 2 children illegally and unsafely mounted between both parents.
  • And at least one third of these drivers will have on a jacket turned backwards just covering their arms. I think some of the drivers are in the sun so much that it burns their uncovered forearms and they have come up with this "back-jack" method. Other reasons are to keep dust off their clothes, and for wind resistance. What ever the reason it looks stupid.

The light turns green and those that haven't run the red light already, roar off down the street. Because you are in a much bigger car, you can't accelerate or you will hit someone, so you have no choice but to sit there for a few seconds and let them clear out. And clear out they do, at great speed. Except, the families whose weight prevents them from moving too quickly. These folks don't care that they are holding you up with their pokey departure, some drivers get so impatient with these slow pokes that they will drive around them even if it means forcing the car in the next lane into a tree. Dave said it perfectly "Their problem, becomes my problem. "

Anyway, the rest of the motorcycles are zooming down the street. There is usually one young crazy driver who thinks that he is the most important and has to show off his driving skills by weaving in and out of the others. He is the one who runs the red lights, and thinks "nothing" can touch or hurt him and will probably cause or be in an accident

6,500 motorcyclists a year die in Malaysia. It think this is among the highest in the world. Keep in mind that these are not the motorcycles we have in the U.S. The Malaysian motorcycle is by our standards a small little 150cc scooter. Any bigger and the taxes go up and the average user cannot afford it. But these little buggers can move and they have the strength of a little mule. Some of the abuses I to these motorcycles I have seen would boggle the mind. I will try to get some photos and download them soon. Dave was going to get a Harley and drive it here in Penang, and I (for the first time in my marriage) put my foot down and said over my dead body!

1 comment:

gary bitsoie said...

Hello Sister Gaddis(Martin)
Don't know if you remember me, Elder Bitsoie from Riverside.

Elder Shay live in Siera Vista, South of Keams Canyon about 6 hrs. Still in Az. doing good.
Nice webpage/blog.