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July 1st, 2010 | Africa

Egyptian Road (Un)Safety…

Cellphones are actually considered as part of the driving experience in Egypt...

One of the hieroglyphics that Egyptologists are yet to decipher... This sign seems to encourage them to go faster...

There are a host of unusual road signs in Egypt… The vast majority of them undecipherable, because they are written in Arabic, of course!! Very few of the signage you will encounter is translated into English… This is a clever way of ensuring that tourists have to use a taxi to get around, otherwise, like myself, they will end up on an unscheduled three hour tour of whichever city they happen to be riding in… This I have done twice in Cairo, and once in Alexandria… If I ever find myself in any of these two cities again, (extremely doubtful!!) you can be sure I will be sitting at the controls of a helicopter, rather than trying to pilot a bike around at ground level…

There are a number of road-signs that are completely wasted on Egyptian drivers, and hereunder are a few that I have snapped while wondering what I had done to deserve being caught up in the mayhem that is Egyptian Traffic…

Speed limits are very seldom adhered to, and the speeds with which they ride through suburban areas with, has to be seen to be believed… In peak traffic, impatient Egyptian motorists turn a four lane highway into a six lane parking lot, and then hoot at everybody around them in an attempt to get the mess they created, sorted out… Pedestrians wander across motorways and freeways, under the noses of traffic cops, dragging children and animals behind them without a care in the world… When I asked a taxi driver if many people were knocked down in the traffic of Cairo, he replied,

“Oh yes of course…!! Many, many are killed in a year… I myself have knocked two…” He seemed quite proud of the fact, grinning smugly to himself while relating the incidents to me in gory detail…

Scooter guy dices with death... This time in the form of a tram in Heliopolis...

The Big Fella tried to convince me that this was the speed limit..

While it is not surprising that Egypt has never produced a Formula 1 driver, I can tell you that there are hundreds of potential stock car world champions on the streets of Cairo, just waiting to be discovered and propelled into the Big Time…!!

Driving conservatively here will get you absolutely nowhere, and in fact would be considered dangerous by most… You have to do your fair share of rule breaking; cutting people off, forcing your way into non-existent spaces, and trying to run the odd jaywalker down…

On the open roads, our Egyptian friends are no better… You will find them straddling the middle line on a two lane highway, hogging both lanes as if unsure exactly where it is they needed to be… You are never quite sure if you should attempt to overtake on the left or the right, and trying to read the mind of an Egyptian driver is fraught with danger…

Translation Do NOT fleece tourists... (I think that's what it says...)

Loosely translated, I think this one says Water costs 1 pound a bottle, so stop charging 10 pounds you nitwits...

The Big Fella translated this one for me... Apparently it says..."There are 4 Fukas (Traffic Cops) waiting for us about 80 kms from Matrouh...

At least the experience here will stand me in good stead for Libya… Bring it on… Gypsy Biker has learnt to ride like an Egyptian…!!

©GBWT 2010

1 comment to Egyptian Road (Un)Safety…

  • Charmz

    Hmmmmmm, I see you have not lost your sense of humour, YET!!I much prefer your take on the road signs and fully agree. I think they should all be changed with immediate affect. LOL

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