Cycling in Dhaka for Dummies

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  1. Don’t follow the rules. If there is a stop sign, stopping is optional. If there is a speed limit, no-one will thank you for abiding to it. In short, by following the rules, you are causing problems for yourself and your fellow road users, and will receive a lot of angry beeping in return for your attempts to remain legal.
  2. Take risks that may be fatal. Everyone else on the road is only concerned about getting to their destination as fast as possible, so why shouldn’t you be? Don’t be afraid to zoom in front of a truck, or overtake when you can’t see if there is any oncoming traffic.
  3. If you don’t yield, then you have right of way. When approaching a car that is about to emerge from a side street, DO NOT SLOW DOWN. Speed up! If you feel badly for delaying this person by 5 seconds, bear in mind that they would have done the same to you.
  4. Driving on the left side of the road is optional. More often than not, there isn’t a separation between the two sides of the road, and even if there is, don’t feel that you have to stick on the left all the time. If you are overtaking and the right lane is empty, stick in it for a while. Also, because of the millions of people living in Dhaka, there are 100’s of thousands of people on the roads, and there may not be enough space on your side of the road. Not as problem! Create another lane! On the other side of the road. Riding into the incoming traffic.
  5. Traffic lights are guidelines, not mandatory rules. After the light goes red, people will continue to go for at least 30 seconds. So, therefore, you will too. Also, if the light is red and nobody is currently driving through, then about 100 other drivers, you included, will take it upon yourself to cross the intersection, and most likely cause a pile-up.
  6. Be confident in yourself. If you are not confident in yourself and your performance on the road, then cycling in Dhaka is not for you. Sorry. Fold those Lycra shorts away in your closet and put your bike in storage. NO!!! Be confident in yourself and your abilities! All you need to cycle in Dhaka is a cool head and the ability to make quick decisions. So go! Be confident and cycle. It’s a whole load of fun and if you abstain for whatever reason, then you are missing out on something awesome!