Sunday, July 31, 2011

Gewalt im Strassenverkehr

The district in Frankfurt where I stayed was in the middle between the Red Light District and the Financial District, close to the Central Train Station (Hauptbahnhof). It was also the first place in Germany that I witnessed a serious act of aggression, something I don’t really expect from the publicly reserved Germans. As I was leaving my hotel to head back to the Hauptbahnhof, I walked by a street market that was in the process of setting up. The street had been blocked off to cars but a man on a motorcycle, with a woman behind him, had decided the regular transportation laws did not apply to him (as motorcyclists are prone to do…). One of the vendors got into the street and stopped in front of the motorcyclist, telling him that he was not allowed to drive in the street. A yelling fight ensued where the vendor demanded he walk his motorcycle and the motorcyclist demanded that the vendor get out of his way. Suddenly the motorcyclist moved to the side in an attempt to drive around the vendor, and the vendor ran in front of him again. The motorcyclist kept going anyway and ran into the vendor without stopping! He pushed the vendor back several feet with his bike and it was shocking for me that the cyclist would be so willing to hit someone just to avoid pushing his bike the distance of one block. After that the woman got off the bike and the biker went off on his own with the vendor chasing after him and trying to take a picture of his license plate. *Literally* the craziest road rage I’ve ever seen – and I’ve been in and around traffic all over Istanbul and Los Angeles…

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