When I turned the corner around my house and saw the crowd in the T-intersection, I knew it was trouble. There was a crowd of around 20 in the middle of the street and in the middle a man lay, alive but not getting up. A policeman milled around on the outskirts of the scene and an ambulance had not yet arrived. A tow truck and two taxi cabs sat on the side of the street. I don't know what transpired in this scene but I do know about the intersection.
Because it is a three-way intersection, all traffic coming down one way of it is turning. In China, there is no such thing as a "yield for pedestrians" rule. Quite the opposite- vehicles often accelerate as they turn toward a crosswalk to ward off any potential crossers that might slow them down.
Thus, every time a pedestrian crosses the street on a green pedestrian light, they must run a dangerous guantlet of turning cars and crossing bikes and motorcycles (whose drivers frequently run red lights and often leave the headlights off at night). Given that this is a busy area of the city, there is a lot of non-stop foot and vehicle traffic from 8 am to 8 pm each day.
During peak hours, at this particular intersection there are multiple traffic enforcers and/or city inspectors posted. There is several police stations within a one kilometer radius. Never once have I seen anyone cite a car for nearly barrelling over a pedestrian.
In an article in Shanghai Daily last week, a driver talked about how she was afraid that if she stopped for pedestrians, the cars behind would slam into her. It's a legimate fear. This non-yielding practice is universal across China.
Why don't city authorities in China, including Shanghai, deal with this issue?
Class bias is likely involved. Why should wealthy drivers stop and wait for the rifraff on the street?
But those in power who pretend it's not a big deal and do nothing to address it have blood on their hands.