Wednesday 23 September 2009

The roads of France

Whenever I am on the road, I find myself admiring the French for driving small cars. There are a few big Benzs and BMWs and even some from the French makers, but I guess 4 in 5 cars are basic and small, like the ones most car owners in India have.

The next moment I find asking myself, “What’s wrong with this picture? This city is a town by Indian big-city standards. Why does it need so many cars? Wouldn’t they be better off with more buses plying more frequently?

Or will such a bus system drain the city’s coffers, because people here may expect a bus system to be hugely subsidised, if not state-owned and virtually free?”

The second thing that strikes me here, and which I also found strange in New Zealand, is that the pedestrian has right of way.

This doesn’t make sense. The pedestrian’s time, either by choice or compulsion, is less valuable than that of person driving a car. Shouldn’t the one with the more valuable resource be allowed to go first (very old and very young people, and disabled people being exempted, of course)?     

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