Whilst one could discuss and argue about the locations of Chiang Mai
City’s latest purchase, the traffic lights, I wish to address a different
issue - the ignorance and arrogance of 99% of the vehicle drivers in Chiang
Mai. Beyond any doubt, I believe that any reader, on any given day and
location, has personally seen and witnessed cars just continuing to drive
over a red light. How do these drivers justify what they are doing? If a
brave driver of a motorcar stops at a red light, the cars behind you are
going nuts, honk, and start risky overtaking maneuvers. How can one, and who
is to, protect the safety of pedestrians trying to cross the street? In case
you have forgotten, or never learned - if it shows “red” to the car, it
shows “green” to the pedestrian, meaning, in theory, that the person can
cross the road safely.
Not so in Chiang Mai. Traffic lights here do not make a
bit of difference, and the city could have easily saved a few million baht.
Where is the traffic police, or any other police department in charge, to
ascertain the safety of the, admittedly few, pedestrians? Worse still, it
all happens under, or better, behind the so-called watchful eyes of the
gendarmerie, busy catching motorbike riders without helmets (which indeed is
a commendable undertaking, needless to say without any real effect).
To top it all, I tell you who stops at a red light -
every ambulance! Why? Because they are not given any chance to cross a major
intersection in order to rush to a nearby hospital, or to the scene of an
accident. As seen at numerous junctions such as the Rincome, not one single
car which is enjoying its green phase halts and lets the Ambulance through.
Thinking about it, you are screwed twice - first, they
drive you over at a pedestrian crossing, after which the ambulance collects
you, and second, the ambulance can’t get you to the hospital in time. If
it wouldn’t be so serious, it would be funny!