08 September 2008

Driving in Angola

Angola, like many developing countries, has its own special protocols when it comes to the rules of the road. The main protocol is that there doesn’t seem to be many rules. The other protocol is that it’s impossible for anything bad to happen to you should you be riding unprotected on a motorcycle. That seems to be what is going through most cyclists heads, anyway. On a trip on the road from Benguela to Lobito, for example, we were overtaken by at least 4 motorcycles exceeding 100km per hour where the driver’s legs were extended parallel to the road. In other words, their bodies were flying behind them, superman-style.

In gridlocked Luanda, part of the problem (aside from too many cars on the road) is a lack of traffic lights. What’s more, when there are traffic lights they either aren’t working or are working in areas that could get by fine without them (like traffic circles). Much of the gridlock could be helped by relying more on basic traffic flow technology and less on the perpetual game of chicken that determines when you get to make a left turn. The most persistent driver usually prevails, but the game of chicken is conducted respectfully, so at least there’s that. That said I’ve also seen people attempt unannounced right hand turns from the left lane among other incredibly daring motoristic feats. Did I mention how glad I am not to have to drive here? Is motoristic a word?

1 comment:

Panda!!!! said...

What would it be like if entire families rode motorcycles, India-style?