Wacky Laws, Uncanny Regulations, Zombie People

Recently, there’s been quite some fuss over a new traffic regulation which, by initial accounts, is quite strange (to say the least) and has good chances of being enforced in Paris.
Specifically, pedestrians who wish to cross the street will have to raise their arm in a certain, previously established way, and then rush forward, cutting through ongoing traffic, while all cars supposedly slow down and allow them to pass.

This is where it gets complicated. What if the driver doesn’t notice the pedestrian and runs the poor guy over (with or without witnesses)? What will be the overall impact to traffic if virtually anyone is able to put a halt to a queue of motorists travelling adamantly at 30-35mph? And so on…

I consider Paris to be a civilized city. True, like any garden, it does have its “weeds”, but it can be established that, overall, it is a civilized city. But will this save the lives of pedestrians who venture to cross streets whenever and wherever they feel like it? Is being civilized enough in such cases?

I’ve got to admit I love French fries but, at first glance, I doubt I would relocate to Paris. I prefer settling for frozen French fries if I can avoid regulations that seem pretty stupid to anyone who’s accustomed with traffic lights and a few rules.

Still, some consider this would be preferable to what happens in Spain, where many regions now have speed restrictions of… 18 mph!!! I simply cannot imagine what it’s like to be a driver in such a city. I think I’d rather walk. It’s healthier and it would probably get me to the destination faster than a car crawling at 18 mph in a likely crowded city and poor in sights to see. The automotive industry is certainly delighted every time such regulations are enforced in countries where leaders have far too much free time on their hands.

The traffic camera invasion in the UK has already been widely publicized and, frankly, I wouldn’t want to ever drive there either. To be spied upon at every turn, not being able to feel the car throbbing all around you, forced to obey each and every rule (put in place by power hungry geezers)… is way too much. And that’s just a bonus to their stupid way of driving on the opposite side than the rest of the world and and thus alienating drivers coming from countries where civilization is not measured in gallons of beer gulped before calling it a night or by the number of one night stands whose name you can’t even remember.

I’ve roamed many European highways and I fail to understand why the German way of letting people drive as they please on many highway segments is not adopted by other countries as well. It’s so completely inefficient to inch forward at 80 mph on a nearly empty motorway that most people can’t help from stepping on it a little harder and consequently breaking rules, even though they’re not necessarily the speeder type.

And all that without even mentioning the simply crushing highway tolls in effect in most countries… except Germany!

I wonder if the doddering gents who pass on such brilliant laws always drive at 80 mph maximum on empty highways and never break any rule. I seriously doubt that, especially after being virtually swept away from my lane by official convoys passing by at supersonic speeds.

But the top spot for stupid regulations is reserved to Americans. Just think about it, how ridiculous is it, if you’re unlucky enough to drive in Arizona, not to be allowed to ever go backwards or how stupid would it be to get a fine for eating an apple in your car while cruising in Connecticut, where it’s strictly forbidden to eat or drink anything at all while driving.

Truth be told, there are some perks too. For example, hitting a pedestrian in Florida or Sarasota will only get you a… $78 fine. Quite affordable, if you ask me, and, come to think of it, I’ve got quite a lot of annoying neighbours.

Moving forward, be careful how you start off from a standstill while in Kansas. If your tires make any noise, you could be in for a 30 day sojourn in a local prison, without too much of a fuss. And if you have any hope that tears or openly expressed regret will be of any help, make sure you avoid doing that in Los Angeles. All you’ll ever get in return is an extension to your sentence; also, crying is considered an offense.

And to top things off, you can’t drive a car in Tennessee while you’re sleeping. The USA is truly the land of all possibilities when you’re talking uncanny regulations, so there’s no need to further discuss this. However, I can’t help but mention how odd I find the need to explicitly inform the Police prior to entering the state of Illinois with a car. How strange is it to read something like this? Well, trust me, it’s a thousand times stranger to be forced to obey to such a regulation or, even worse, to be arrested because you failed to.

While Europe is working hard to catch up with the USA in terms of downright crazy laws that seem designed to hunt down any person foolish enough to attempt driving a car, other places are exactly the opposite. In several countries, in territories considered less developed, traffic is something left completely to chance. There are no traffic lights and no signs, everything depends on how people manage to get along and, even if it may seem strange, it looks like it is working.

A lot of people end up on roads in Asia, Egipt and so on, where traffic resembles ant colonies: cars, bikes, and buses, each moving apparently in a chaotic manner and without regard for any kind of regulation that might impose fines or signs that might send careless drivers to jail.

Simple and efficient. Impossible to implement in civilized countries. Sometimes I feel this civilization of ours also implies a dose of mass idiocy. I mean, a pack of barely literate Asians can drive around without any kind of traffic signs, while we, the civilized ones, kill each other on oversignaled roads, with tons of lighting, filled with moronic signs, cameras, radar guns, policemen and everything else can be used for traffic surveillance?

Doesn’t this give you something to think about?

Don’t we risk ending up in an “idiocracy”? To stop thinking for ourselves and instead act only according to lights, computers that lead you into corn fields when all you wanted was to get the paper, cops who can fine you for sneezing behind the wheel or, worse, for listening to music you downloaded instead of purchasing or, God forbid, for wearing sunglasses with a green tint instead of yellow, as dictated by regulations in a long forgotten state…

Don’t become a zombie who accepts anything and everything without resistance. Think for yourself! Stay alive!
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