You know that Green Walking Man icon that indicates (in most countries in the world) that it is safe for pedestrians to cross the road at a designated crosswalk, because oncoming cars must stop?
Take this China travel tip and save a life: In China, the Green Walk Signal actually means… absolutely nothing.
Unfailingly, in the two weeks I traveled through China, I would start to stride across the crosswalk, the Green Walk Light beckoning me calmingly forward… when suddenly: SCREECH! Four cars and two electric-powered bikes would come careening across the crosswalk and nearly plow me over, as if no walk signal existed at all!
I would take to screaming at them: “GREEN! GREEN, PEOPLE, GREEN! GREEN MEANS IT’S SAFE FOR ME TO WALK!” But this protest was akin to screaming at a pile of metal: useless.
In sum: Do NOT rely on the walk signals in China for safely, travelers! Maybe in the future the government will crack down on traffic laws, but for now, tell yourself that Green and Red signals mean the same: Proceed with a TON of caution.