Planet China

Go with the flow

Stories of motorists breaking traffic rules are common in China. Cases in which drivers try to change the rules are a lot rarer, however. Enter a man surnamed Cai who, tired of the delays in his daily commute, decided to speed up the traffic flow. The issue, so far as Cai saw it, was that the lanes to go straight ahead at a four-way junction would get congested, while the inside lane reserved for vehicles turning left was often empty. Wouldn’t it be better to open that lane up for all motorists, he thought? So while cars queued up around him, Cai painted new arrows on the left turning lane, indicating that it could be used to head straight on as well. But there was another problem: a boxed area in that same lane where cars were meant to wait for the opportunity to turn. So Cai simply painted a new waiting area for turning off, angled much more sharply to the left, which was less restrictive to the flow.

What Cai didn’t plan for was the traffic camera that monitored him making his alterations. Police showed up just as he was finishing his hard work and arrested him, later fining him Rmb1,000 ($150).

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