There’s never a dull moment driving on Delhi’s roads. Cars, bikes and buses complete for space with cows, whilst the rules of the road appear to be open to interpretation depending on a range of unknown factors that can change at any time. Confused? You should be.
I’ve been driving and cycling on Delhi’s roads for a couple of years now and I’ve survived.
I consider survival a good measure of my success. I’ve learned a lot from my experiences behind the wheel and on my bicycle, but whether what I’ve picked up on my travels is legal or not I’m not really sure.
So, one day, in a quest to find out what’s theoretically allowed and what’s not, I set out for one of Delhi’s Traffic Training Parks.
Traffic Training Parks
In an effort to educate Dilliwalahs about road safety and the rules of the road, Delhi Traffic Police, in association with Honda, have recreated Delhi’s street scenes at five Traffic Training Parks (TTP) across the city.
Walking through the gates of the TPP on Baba Kharak Singh Marg I had no idea what to expect.
What a world awaits anyone who takes the decision to walk in. A miniature mock up of a Delhi street scene comes complete with traffic lights, pedestrian crossings and road signs. There are even pavements for pedestrians (in some places). It’s weirdly serene, but that’s probably because no cars are allowed inside the TTPs.
I was not alone though. Riding around this mini mock up of Delhi on her bicycle, stopping when the traffic lights turned red and waiting for me at the pedestrian crossing, was Rani.
Rani told me that she didn’t feel safe or confident on Delhi’s roads. So, in an effort to face down her fears, she’d been coming to the park over the past few months to practice. Her ambition, one day, was to cycle to work.
I admired her. She rode off. Wobbling along it looked like she would fall off her cycle at any moment. The safest place for Rani, for the moment, is in the traffic free confines of the TPP.
When Rani does makes it out, she’ll be well educated about the rules of the road. The fact that these rules are not observed by most other people could prove a problem, but Rani will at least be in the right.
So, what did I learn from my trip to the TTP? Here’s some photo facts about what’s allowed, what’s not and some other interesting stuff.
It is mandatory to wear a helmet, even for women. If you don’t believe me, read what is written on the billboard below.
There are mandatory road signs, as well as warning and information signs. In theory, it means that there are some rules that must be followed.
One compulsory rule is to use a car horn. I wondered why everyone does so, all of the time. I haven’t seen this sign, but it must everywhere. I must pay more attention.
There is no sign about driving with lights on when it is dark, but using low beam during city riding is something that’s promoted. Sadly, no-one has seen this sign because they’ve been blinded by high beam drivers.
There’s a whole host of entertaining street signs that I’ve never seen before. They are wonderful.
Driving in co-operative and not competitive. Apparently.
It’s safe to walk only on the footpath. Perhaps in the park it is, but elsewhere I prefer to take my chances on the road.
Wondering what is it really like? This animation gives a better idea of what happens and the rules you should be following when driving on Delhi’s roads.
Fancy visiting Delhi TPP?
For more information on Delhi’s TTP, locations and opening times, click here.