Updated: 2013-05-13 07:31

(China Daily)

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Road safety ignored in China

I wonder how Chinese people can be so friendly, polite and kind to each other, and yet become completely unaware of the dangers once they step into the streets or take to the wheels.

Pedestrians cross roads without a care about their safety. Motorcyclists speed down pavements and roads without any regard for pedestrians and other vehicles. Cars and trucks constantly cut across lanes. Pedestrian crossings and traffic lights are largely ignored by many.

Sometimes vehicles speed past roundabouts in both directions. Cars that refuse to give way to oncoming traffic on narrow roads end up causing traffic jams. Drivers park their vehicles anywhere they feel like and block pavements and side roads. And some motorcycles are so overloaded that you cannot even see the person riding it.

Since I plan to live in China for some time, I often ask myself whether I should buy a bicycle or even a car. But I keep telling myself that I'd rather travel on the wonderful buses in the country and avail myself of taxis occasionally.

Car culture is relatively new to China. Until a few years ago bicycles ruled the roads. Cyclists (and motorbike riders) therefore think they still have the right to rule the roads. The elderly have little understanding of or regard for the dangers and the young show little road sense. Drivers want to get to their destination as quickly as possible, without any consideration for the needs of others. Roads have therefore become battlefields where expensive cars are used like weapons to subdue others.

Thankfully, the government has implemented strict rules to discourage jaywalkers, which seems like a good start to streamline drivers' and pedestrians' behaviors.

TedM, via e-mail

Prayers for Boston victims

Comment on "Xi expresses concern for Chinese victims in Boston blasts" (China Daily, April 18)

I was saddened to hear about the death of a Chinese student in the Boston Marathon bombings. The graduate student of Boston University was a resident of Shenyang, Liaoning province, and was one of the three victims of the Boston bombings.

The Boston Marathon is one of the oldest marathons in the world and people compete in it both to prove their competence and show their love for the city and its people. And the bombings have come as a shock to people not only in Boston, but also in the rest of the world.

I hope the bombing survivors recover soon, physically and emotionally. Terrorism is a crime against humanity and we should work together to fight against it.

Mike Hu, via e-mail

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(China Daily 05/13/2013 page9)