Tuesday, February 21, 2006

China Trip II - Highway Signs

Being a motorcycle rider, you tend to develope a strong bond with the "way of the road." This leads to my fascination of road signs in different countries and the way the roads are run, the way traffic behaves and the general attitude of drivers. I've already given my point of view on how horrible the general Chinese driver is and how hazardous it actually is to be driven around.

To show a side of China that wont usually be found in the guidebooks, following is a display of the various highway signage on China's modern highways.

Road sign in the city. Couldn't figure out its message. Maybe pedestrians should only be on the sidewalk, instead of in the path of moving vehicles? Or something about car pollution?

Must be a "dont drink and drive" warning.

This open four lane highway still had uncontrolled traffic crossing up ahead. Out of the city, I didnt notice this much, but the highway in the city was pretty scary.

Toll booth

Toll gate, looks just like the ones in the states. Note the camera on the left for violators. There's an automated toll system (like I-pass or EZ-pass) on certain tolls around Beijing, but the transponder costs about $80. For all other toll roads, a prepaid card as such could be purchased, which was cheaper than paying with cash.

Exit sign, clearly marked.

Warning sign about tail gating

This sign indicated that up ahead were signs allowing you to keep a proper distance to the vehicle in front (approximately 50 meters).

Three signs measuring out 0, 50 and 100 meters to aid in spacing yourself. I wish we had that here in the states.

Carriage way referring to cruising lane, I think.

Highway clean up crew. Note how small the shoulder is, not wide enough to park a car. A person is used to clean the side of the highway as a vehicular street cleaner would be blocking part of the right lane.

End of the Jinbin Expressway between Tianjin City and Tangu.

Sinopec gas station. Major sponsor of the F1 and Moto GP races in Shanghai.

The levels of petrol grade were 90, 93 and 97. Couldn't figure out why. Gas was about 4.36 Yuan for a liter, that's about $2 a gallon for 93. Not bad.

Shen's car, a VW Santana 2000, based on a Passat, made in China. This is the typical car for a private taxi.

Bicycle crossing traffic light.

The speed limits on the highways varied from 80 km/h to 120 km/h. It was 80 around exit ramps and 120 when there was nothing around. I didnt see a single police car on the highway, but we generally cruised around 120, which is about 75 mph. The scary thing was passing trucks and small minivans going about 50 km/h on the expressway. In town, the only thing followed was a red light, as some of these are camera monitored, so running a red light is a big no no. Thank god for that at least.

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