Look Both Ways and Pray

13 Feb 2012

Motorcycles gather in central Paris.

Motorcycles gather in central Paris.

The first attempt to cross a Paris street at a pedestrian crossing will illustrate that liberté extends all the way into the streets. When pedestrians receive the signal to cross, drivers receive a corresponding red light. So far so good. I mean, a prominent red light on a road is the internationally accepted meaning of stop, isn’t it?

Not quite so it appears. While naive mortals like myself are suddenly instilled with a sense of safety and trust in our fellow man, the French red light merely informs drivers to be aware that there could be people / obstacles on the road ahead. An invitation to, for a few seconds at least, play a real life game of Angry Birds with the humans that dare cross.

If you’re lucky, the vehicle might be one of the trendy three-wheeled scooters that grace the roads. Two wheels are so last century; who could possibly settle for two wheels when you can have three. Like Crocodile Dundee would say, “You call that a scooter, THIS is a scooter!”.