When I wrote about the differences between home and Basel last week, I forgot one of the biggest ones!
Cars actually stop for pedestrians here.
I know this comes from being a society not so dependent on having your own vehicle, so more people are walking, and more drivers are aware of pedestrians because sometimes they are pedestrians themselves, but it still weirds me out.
When I am standing at a crosswalk (without traffic signals) and a car is coming towards me, I don’t have to wait to cross, or run. The car will stop for me.
I don’t know how long it will take me to get used to this, but I’m nowhere near used to it yet.
Another big difference, especially coming from somewhere like Peoria where the public transportation isn’t very good, is that the trams are king. Everyone yields to the tram. I heard a tram dinging its bell at a taxi the other day because the taxi was blocking the tram’s way. (It was kind of funny, actually.)
Last night when we were walking to pick up pizza for dinner, Genevieve dropped her Hello Kitty toy at the cross walk. HK bounced a couple of times and landed right in the tram track. The 2 tram was on its way, and Andy or I probably could have snatched HK in time, but it would have been close.
(And if you mess with the trams, get in their way, make them stop to avoid hitting you – you can get fined!)
So HK stayed in the track and we heard the crunch.
G was understandably upset by the whole thing. “But why did the tram not stop?!” Hopefully this will serve as an important lesson for her in terms of her toys and herself when interacting with the trams.