Green for Danger

There is change in Bulgaria, things are now getting more streamlined ever day, with the Europe tag now firmly attached to Bulgaria, it is inevitable these things are happening. But not just yet!

Since 2005 I have been frequenting Yambol town and on the very first visit here I noticed that the dangers for pedestrians on the road was a concern. You had to have eyes at the back of your head to survive crossing roads. It wasn’t so bad then; traffic on the roads was quite rare, no traffic jams, mainly jalopy cars trundling along, you needn’t look for them coming, you could hear them coming. It was still a danger with the odd Mafia owned BMW, Mercedes or Audi thinking they own the road, (well actually they do!)

The biggest danger is in trusting the Yambol traffic light system. It is a simple matter of not taking any notice of the instructions given by the lights to cross the road; use your own ears and eyes looking for traffic instead, it is far safer that way. I will explain.

There is a crossroads with traffic lights with a built in pedestrian set of lights with the red and green man telling you to cross or not to cross. Added to this is the sound of beeping, another signal that is telling the pedestrian to cross. This is a booby trap for as the green man lights up and the beeping blares out, you step into the road and a stream of cars come whizzing round the corner as they also have had a green light to tell them to go.

What we have here is a system that tells cares to drive on and pedestrians to walk on. A recipe for disaster, but as far as I know there hasn’t been any accidents there for ages as both driver and pedestrian know that’s how the light work and use their initiate to avoid collision. I see it every day where both pedestrian and driver proceed with caution on that very crossroad.

Some would argue that it would be safer without traffic lights if their purpose of safety is contradicted. During out of peak hours the lights are switched off and a free for all is licensed out. This is just as safe as all traffic and pedestrians look out for each other, in fact it his is safer for newcomers unaware of the fault of the system.

It seems that in Bulgaria, whatever is laid out for them to protect them they will still use their built in system to survive by carry on doing it their own way, the way it has always been done. Crossing the road is no exception, how many times to a see people just step out into the road expecting the cars to stop for them? Countless, but on each occasion the car does stop; what’s more, in the main, they accept that pedestrians rule in town!

At the end of the day, this is normal in Bulgaria. I have often asked Galia why these lights are not fixed; after all they been faulty throughout the time I’ve been here. She just shrugs her shoulders saying it’s not important; we crossed the road safely didn’t we? Well, that the answer I should expect from a Bulgarian. She is probably thinking why does he ask these questions anyway?