On the front (yellow) line…

Life and limb,

Thats what I’ve been risking to bring you this blog post. I’ve put the kevlar jacket away as its warm here and it didn’t have any pockets. (Thats a free hint to any kevlar jacket manufacturers). Anyway, I digress. Kevlar also offered me no protection against the latest danger I have faced here in an effort to bring you the inside scoop on Basel.

This is it folks:


Okay, so its just a pedestrian crossing. And in Basel they’re very plentiful. There are crossings at every junction and often at regular intervals down the long streets. Which is great. The problem comes when you want to use them.

At this stage I should also mention that the Swiss drive on the wrong side of the road. After five and a bit weeks here I’m slowly getting the hang of it. As I approach any crossing my thoughts generally switch to this…

“look left look left look left look left not right not right…now right now right right right…”

…and then I reach the other side. Another thing to note is that a lot of people cycle here. Cyclists seem to have their own laws and rules about how things work on the road. But I don’t want to complain about that too much as I hope to have a bike soon and then inherit the right to bend many/all rules of the road.

And of course there are trams

But, back to the crossings. To research this post I went and read the Green Cross Code. In there I discovered the correct and safe procedure for crossing a pedestrian crossing. It doesn’t work here.

Most drivers and cyclists stop. But some seem not to notice. I’d say about 20%. Thats a lots when you think of it. I’ve had “misunderstandings” with two cars since I’ve been here and a very nice lady on a bike. I don’t want to say too much because it probably had as much to do with me walking blindly out onto the crossing looking the wrong way (and also the law suit is in the post!!).

But I do want you to know the risks I’m putting myself at to test the Swiss lifestyle for you! That, plus I also got my health insurance!!

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4 responses to “On the front (yellow) line…

  1. I can only advise you to stay far, far away from Italian cities. If Basel is throwing you off, you’d have zero chance of survival in Milan…

  2. If you see a French license plate approaching…DON’T CROSS!!!

  3. the reason cyclists bend a lot of rules is due to the tragedy of losing momentum on a bike.
    Once you start pedalling it’ll all become clear.

  4. Global Librarian

    Had a similar experience when I lived in Ireland (where people drive on the WRONG side of the road!) When my friends and I would cross the street in Dublin, we would always say “Thank you so much for not killing us. We greatly appreciate it.”

    We found the bus drivers to be the worse. They would actually speed up if they saw us crossing well down the road at the crosswalk!

    There is nothing more terrifying than an enormous bus barreling at you while revving it’s engine.

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