Crossing the road

I’ve discovered crossing the road to be quite a cultural thing. It varies between countries but also within.

A few things apply everywhere in Finland. You wait for the light to turn green even if there are no cars around. Sometimes people rebel and cross it even when the light is red but prepare to be judged if you do so. You also only cross when there’s a pedestrian crossing. You wouldn’t want to jump in front of a car now would you?

The regional differences come into play when there are no traffic lights.

The town where I’m from is perhaps even notorious for stopping the traffic whenever a pedestrian is crossing it. The pedestrians know this and feel entitled to cross without a worry in their mind. In Kotka – where I lived the past year – it’s the drivers who feel entitled. Literally every time I would come to a pedestrian crossing and there’s a car approaching, they would accelerate and make sure they pass before I do. As if it is personal insult that I expect them to slow down.

Photo by Tuija/Flickr (CC)

In an orderly manner, just the way we like it

The orderly Finn tends to feel a bit out-of-place everywhere else in the world. Every country seems to have their own nuances in the seemingly simple task.

In the Netherlands the cyclist is the king. You watch out for the bikes whether you’re by foot or with a car if you care about your life.

In the UK nobody waits for the light, you cross wherever and whenever you want because it would be a bit daft if you wouldn’t. If the road is empty, what’s the harm?

And in Doha you don’t cross. You drive. If for some reason you find yourself on foot, I suggest my method: run, scream and wave your hands. Worked perfectly for me.