Hours of happy walks through Shanghai’s streets this weekend reminded me of the physics of navigating this city and staying intact.
1. Sidewalks, stairs, walkways, just about anywhere a foot can fall in China’s cities can be on polished stone that slides like ice when it rains. Some of these are in patterns with some stones of sturdy footing and some like glass. Stairs sometimes have rough surfaces or metal guards, but these can be worn down or missing in places. It rains a lot in Shanghai. I almost took a tumble on some metro station stairs and a few sidewalks. I had to schuss up the slope at my hotel last night. Beware. One option is to walk on the rough areas used for navigation by the blind.
2. Whenever exiting a taxi, look carefully behind before opening the door. Bikes and scooters try to zip by on even the narrowest space between curb and taxi. This afternoon I saw a man take a nasty tumble and his scooter smashed by a young man flinging open a taxi door.
3. Right turn on red is allowed and no one slows or yields. As a colleague mentioned on a particularly dangerous intersection by the office, where the right turn goes through a racing curve and wheels lift off the ground as cars round the bend, “Green does not mean it is safe to cross.”