A tourist has to worry about lots of things in India. Getting lost on a taxi ride in Mumbai is as routine as working for an organization that is fast losing it’s soul.
Getting around on a motorbike is as tricky as getting around in Bangalore. It’s not unlike the physical manifestation of people scrambling to redeem their online casino bonus. The traffic system and road networks in India are incredibly complex and confusing.
For instance, in Mumbai traffic they have a system called ‘traffic lights’. A ‘police light’ means that a traffic enforcement officer is standing somewhere, like in a traffic bay. A traffic light has three red lights on it, which may indicate a warning, or may mean ‘no driving’.
A ‘police signal’ means that a traffic enforcement officer has been instructed to stop people. A traffic signal is accompanied by red, yellow and green lights. Yellow lights mean that drivers must stop at all times. Red lights mean that drivers must stop when the light changes from yellow to red.
Yellow lights are used most often as a ‘warning signal’. It is considered bad form for a driver to proceed through a yellow light, which indicates to the enforcement officers that the driver might be breaking traffic rules. The police would rather see all drivers follow the yellow lights, than see drivers break a rule.
The culture of India is also about respecting other peoples property. If a motorcyclist, for example, stops at a traffic signal, and the lights change from yellow to red, the motorcyclist would not be expected to suddenly start driving. Drivers would only be able to resume driving if they see that the police have issued a ‘stop-signal’, which means that the road is clear.
If a motorbike driver stops at a red light, and the lights change from red to green, the motorcyclist might be asked to switch off the headlights and the tail lights.
Since the lights at red lights indicate that the road is clear for drivers to resume driving, if a motorcyclist wants to stop at the red light, they might be asked to switch off their headlights and tail lights. Drivers in India are used to doing things the way the society expects, not necessarily what the traffic lights suggest.
Roads in India are incredibly complex and confusing. In fact, roads in India are not necessarily ‘roads’. In many areas of India roads are like India’s bus system. Local buses run on a number of roads, which means that if the bus has to drive to a nearby bus stop, the bus driver might have to drive to the first street on the road, but then have to drive across the road to get to the bus stop. The local bus system makes getting around in India easy.
For example, in Bangalore, if I want to drive in the city, I first need to get to a railway station. If I drive on any one of the streets in the city, I might have to drive through areas with buses, or through areas with rickshaws or auto-rickshaws.
On Bangalore’s roads, if a motorbike driver uses his headlights, he might have to stop. Drivers are warned by red light signals on roads in India.