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Bangalore Traffic is Like Being in a Real-Life Game of FROGGER

I grew up in southern California in the 80s.  We loved neon, hairspray rock bands, MTV and – like, for sure, totally, like oh-my-god – the mall.  Didn’t matter if we needed to buy anything or not, the mall was the place to hang out.  I remember we used to go with a pocket full of coins (quarters to be exact) and hit the arcade for hours, which in our mall was called Flipper Flapper.  It was like so totally awesome!  My favourite arcade games at Flipper Flapper were Galaga, Asteroid, Ms Packman, Centipede and Frogger.

I don’t think Frogger came to India so here’s a quick overview (check out this quick video too, and listen to the sounds of the game!  When you play Frogger, you are a frog who has to safety navigate two environments.  The first is a motorway and the second is a river.  The river is full of dangers like alligators and snakes.  The road is equally challenging and full of different vehicles just waiting to run you over!  The game starts out nice and easy, you can move left, right, forward and backward.  The first levels are quite simple but as the game goes deeper and deeper into the levels the density of the cars, their speeds, etc increase.  And towards the top levels it is a really difficult thing to actually cross the road or river without being squished flat by a car or truck or hit by a log.

Every time I cross the street or a road here in Bangalore, I actually feel like a human Frogger!  Honestly, I have never seen anything like it anywhere in the world.  I’m guessing that this is not unique to Bangalore because I’ve seen Froggers in Chennai and Goa too.  Delhi and Bombay must be insane given how big they are but I haven’t been to those cities yet.

So what the hell happened here in India that converted everyone into Froggers?  In Europe and the U.S., people use designated cross walks to cross the street.  You walk down to the closest street corner, use the zebra crossing, cars stop and allow you to pass… you reach the other side with no stress, safely and in one piece.  In Germany, if a car doesn’t stop when there is a pedestrian waiting at a zebra crossing they would receive a ticket if the police happened to see.  And in the U.S. if the police see a pedestrian crossing the street illegally then that person will receive a ticket – this is called jaywalking, not sure why! (See jaywalking info here:

But in India it’s a free-for-all and the motorists appear to have the right-of-way and show very little regard for the safety of the pedestrians.  Add to that the fact that the pedestrians seem to have the confidence of a super hero and powers of immortality because they cross major highways just like Frogger does.  It blows my mind whenever I see someone crossing dense, fast, busy roads one lane at a time as cars, trucks and motorbikes whiz past them at super speeds.  Left, right, back, forward… you have to really be “on” when you cross the street in India because one wrong step and – SQUISH – you’ll be wiped out!

The other crazy pedestrian practice that astounds me is the way that everyone here in Bangalore is forced to walk in the streets and roads because there are so few places in town with sidewalks that the road is the only place to walk.  In Europe or the U.S., if you have to walk in the street or on a road, you’d stay as close as possible to the side of the street or road for safety.  But here in India people walk in the road, relaxed as could be, sometimes two or three people deep without even looking at the cars jamming by.  I am always so paranoid when I walk in the street that I look at the cars as I hear them approach to make sure I don’t have to jump out of the way.  Yet locals don’t seem to have that same concern.  People just assume that they are going to be a-okay when they are in the street.  I wonder if I will ever gain that feeling of security like a local and not worry about being run over?  Maybe after a couple of years of living here?  Hmmmm…

I do miss the sidewalks in Barcelona and the guarantee that I can cross the road stress-free, even in the busiest peak hours of the day.  Yet at the same time I LOVE the thrill of playing Frogger again after all these years… we’re just missing that “bink, bink, bink” sound to accompany us every time we step in the correct spot as encouragement to keep going but I guess that’s not gonna happen, eh?

XOXO Angela

© Angela Carson, 2011

Angela Carson

At 21 I left uni, jumped into my Jeep Wrangler, and drove from my native California to live an adventure in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. I've explored 37 countries on 4 continents, residing in 8 of them (currently Indonesia's Riau Islands is my home). I even have a private pilot's license and was shot at once by bandits!

This Post Has 15 Comments

  1. SUNIL


    1. angela_carson

      hehe, i love the cool “driving on the wrong side of the road” thing here 🙂 Makes it more exciting to drive after so many years driving always on the right 🙂 –ange

  2. Naveen Chandra

    In India people rely more on their judgement than rules which is almost non existent 🙂

    Just look at this video about how people find their way out without causing traffic jam or accidents at an unregulated traffic junction 😉

    Its chaotic , but according to physics chaotic system are more stable 🙂

    1. angela_carson

      I love that video! That is a perfect example of everyday driving here for sure. Thanks for posting it 🙂 angela

  3. talesofthetail

    i can totally picture you in your choos doing this. it is a great visual!

    1. angela_carson

      hehe!! I don’t actually own any choos but I do always wear heels…and I have several Prada’s and Tod’s here — and I am always in some girly frock so yeah, I don’t really blend in 🙂

  4. SUNIL

    Jokes apart,we DO HAVE CRAZY DRIVERs,who dont really care about pedestrians.There are Cultured people,who would give right of way to Pedestrians.But ,they get pooh-poohed by the mad traffic,Honking on their ass…JUst Hate the Cabs & Sumos,crazy junglee wild driving-MUCH MORE DANGEROUS THAN DRUNKEN DRIVING.The Rule should be Larger the vehicle ,you drive,Larger is your Responsibility towards Pedestrians.Tip to the Pedestrian-SHOw YOUR HAND TO STOP THE TRAFFIC,LOOK in the eyes of the RUDE DRIVER>>who honks at you.MAKE YOUR WAY.

    1. angela_carson

      Yes indeed India has crazy drivers!!! 🙂 Though oddly enough, very FEW accidents. It’s interesting. –ange

  5. SUNIL

    Few accidents..say THANKS to our Government,& our CRATERED roads,they make sure u crawl @ 1km/per hour and reach home the next day. 2 countries dont have speed limits on many of their roads–1]Germany-Take the Autobahn,& show your pedal power…vrroom, AND 2] India- Take the road,&show your pedal power..lets see how fast u dare to go in this bumper-to-bumper traffic,lets see whether u reach office in time;) SPEED KILLS,so kill the SPEED,LIVE LONGER

  6. Break D Rulzz

    Just love the whole thing you put up…It really shows your concern and love for Banglore :)…Really sweet of you

  7. Rhonald Moses

    hey most of the drivers in india do not know about hazzard signal… I got a weirdest explanation from a driver: it seems when in junction (4 roads, of course) if you put hazzard lights (parking lights), it means you are going straight….

    crazy isn’t it? yet accident rate is very low…

    1. angela_carson

      Hmmmm that is strange. My driver only uses the hazzard signals when he’s stopped on the side of the road or a street. I’ll have to ask him about that… –angela

  8. prasad3130

    Its debatable whether right-hand driving is right or the left-hand driving. Its just that one get used to the way they drive when they are learning. BTW, I used to ride bikes in Bangalore before coming to US but when I went to visit after 2 years, I myself was scared to death riding the same bike for first few days. But then I mustered all the courage and got used to the traffic. I was in fact shocked and terrified as a pillion rider while my sis was riding the bike 🙂

    1. angela_carson

      You are brave, I would never ride a bike here…I would surely die, haha!

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