Oh my god, there are robots everywhere, trying to interfere with my progress!
For all of those who haven’t spent some time in South Africa, robots are not evil aliens from outer space, no, this is how they call their traffic lights.
I have to say, I have never been a big fan of traffic lights (who is?), but in the past two years my experience with these little color-changing objects on the side of the road has just been HORRIFIC! Most of the cities worldwide do have some sort of system that guides their traffic through the city, crossroads, roundabouts, major roads, backstreets, crosswalks, etc. Most of them are controlled by robots, aka traffic lights. Drive 50 km/h along a main road and most of the time you should have phased traffic lights, frequently connected to contact strips in the road to create a nice flow of traffic.
But now: FORGET ABOUT ALL OF THIS! Cape Town robots are the main actors of their own sarcastic comedy show, mocking all the good people trying to flee from this urban tragedy. Arbitrarily placed along the roads, confusing the brave citizens with an absolutely irrational behavior. It could happen – if you are extremely lucky –it will take you only about 10 minutes to get from point A to point B while passing a couple of traffic lights. But in most cases you will need at least 45 minutes for the same distance and the flaw does not lie within the traffic itself. Every single one of these little gadflies plays it’s one little game; not paying attention or the slightest interest in what the other ones are doing.
Same goes for pedestrian crossings. I always smile, when I watch tourists waiting at a red traffic light for hours, and once it turns green, it’s changed to red again before they even took their first step.
I am really confused about that fact! Aren’t any people out there at the traffic department trying to bring any logic into the traffic flow? Or does it have to be like this? Perhaps to make things more exciting? How long will my daily ride take today? 10 or 40 minutes? Luckily I am a very chilled driver, but now I absolutely understand why so many people get fines for driving over red lights.