Michaela Merz

Fateful seconds in Nice

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Nice is a wonderful place, filled with life, wind, sun, sea and traffic. Cars are everywhere and traffic rules either are little known or little respected. People park everywhere, even if its forbidden and it seems that nobody cares. The road users are calm. The pedestrians hardly ever wait until it is green but just walk on and the cars patiently wait without being annoyed until the pedestrians reached the other side of the road. Hardly ever anyone blows the horn.

Today the race of the large catamarans begins (www.extremesailing.com). In the morning we are with my youngest one at the harbour in order to watch the catamarans. They seem large and powerful, lined up next to each other in the harbour, but somehow helpless without sails. We walk around the entire harbour and admire the many ships. Now it would be time for an ice cream and luckily there is an ice cream stand on the other side of the road. We only have to cross the road. A two-lane road with dense traffic but at least with a pedestrian crossing and traffic light. Educationally correct I am standing there and wait until the light shows green. But it is still red. Endlessly long without break. Other people do not care about it and as soon as there is a gap in the traffic, they jump on the road. The cars will stop.

I am getting annoyed but still wait, wanting to be an example. And finally, a huge bus stops next to us and finally the light shows green. Also the cars on the other side have stopped. My boy wants to run across the road fast. But he has hardly stepped on the road when the bus horns so load that we scare stiff. We look at the bus driver but he does not even look in our direction. I am annoyed but only for one second because suddenly a small red car dashes forward at high speed next to the bus onto the pedestrian crossing. The small car had overtaken the standing bus despite the red traffic light and without any view on the narrow street. If my boy had run forward… I do not even want to continue this thought.

Isn’t it crazy that only seconds can decide on our entire future?!

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