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Street life that makes assistants see red

RUNNING red lights, dashing into oncoming traffic and reckless riding on the sidewalk, all common practices by many local people who ignore reminders to obey the rules by local traffic assistants.

Shanghai traffic assistants say they hope to see more people minding their manners for safety's sake.

Riding on the sidewalk

There are fewer jaywalkers in the city these days, but cyclists riding on the sidewalk to take a short cut are common, traffic assistants say.

Riders, especially delivery staff, would go too fast on the sidewalk, instead of stopping their bicycles or motorcycles to give way to pedestrians.

It was difficult to stop them doing so. Traffic assistants sometimes ask them to dismount but they would either be ignored or the riders would get back on their bikes at the earliest opportunity.

"As a rule, we can't physically get them to stop, all we can do is to wave our arms and whistle," said an assistant surnamed Mao at the intersection of Jing'an District's Yan'an Road M. and Shimen Road.

Cyclists are not allowed to ride on Yan'an Road according to the local traffic rules.

A pedestrian on the sidewalk was seriously injured by a speeding moped recently, said 57-year-old traffic assistant Chen Aoxiang.

Being rude to traffic assistants

It is not unusual for a local traffic assistant to hear cursing or be gestured at by traffic law breakers. Traffic assistants said some people didn't care how many times they were reminded to step back to the curb, or not to go beyond the stop line when the red light was on.

"They just pretend not to see you and rush across the street ignoring the red lights or our warnings," said Shen Baisong, a traffic assistant on Weihai Road.

In extreme cases, some law breakers would physically assault assistants.

Long Shen, a 43-year-old assistant on duty on Yuyuan Road, said one of his colleagues was in hospital for almost a year after he was punched by a college student who tried to run a red light.

"Those who do not mind their manners on the streets and attack traffic assistants should feel ashamed of themselves," said Chen Jianxin, a traffic assistant on Changde Road.


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