One of the hardest experiences to share with all of you who have not yet had the opportunity to visit India, is the traffic. The absolute cacophony and chaos of the streets has to be seen to be appreciated if not quite understood. While there are rules of the road, they aren’t found in any handbook. They are inherent to the system which is learned by participation. Katey has attempted to capture video, but so far hasn’t been able to encompass the complete sensory overload of the commotion that is commuting in India.
All modes of transportation are acceptable on any road at any time. This varies from people, cows, dogs, chickens, goats, monkeys, etc. walking down the highway to large trucks hauling who knows what through the narrowest of streets. Along with those walking are the carts pulled by anything that can be hitched to a cart, including camels, horses, cattle, and people, but also rickshaws, cars, bicycles, buses, and the occasional elephant. If you have some where to be, you have your choice of transportation options, and all are viable for any road.
This confluence of transportation options creates a unique set of road rules, of which Katey is still not entirely fluent. But it seems that the following apply: the bigger you are, the more you have right of way. However, in accidents, the larger vehicle is held at fault. Never touch a cow. Navigating via echolocation is expected and encouraged. Horns wear out faster than brakes. Go around the cow. Always expect it to take at least twice as long to get somewhere as you would expect as there will always be a wedding procession or a cow taking a nap in the intersection. Motorcycles are acceptable as a vehicle for a family of five. Women are required to wear helmets on motorcycles as they are people too. Cows do not. The metro construction will never be completed in any city. The quickest way to get around the city is in a rickshaw with a young driver. If you need anything carried across the city, it can probably do so via bicycle. The lines on the road are there for decoration; as are the cows. It’s not illegal unless you stop for the police waving you down. And then how illegal the infraction was is dependent on your negotiation skills; as long as you didn’t hit a cow.