China is big on walking. at least 90% of china have it as a significant mode of travel
It takes time to walk through your apartment complex there, and out the gate into the street, down a few blocks to the bus stop (if you choose to ride a bus), and then make a transfer to the subway station (if you need to go long distances), and in-between these modes of travel, there is walking. Sometimes significant distances of walking and then standing to wait for the next bus or train to arrive, sometimes 10 to 20 minutes. All of this time spent standing and walking. But it is on the streets where pedestrians have the most danger:
pedestrians competing with not only autos, but buses. Buses kill people too
In China, where 90% of the population does not even drive, you have a lot of people (1.5 billion x 90% = 1.35 Billion people) who need to jocky with the automobiles everyday in a crosswalk, or in the street when they are J-WALKING, or even if they are minding their own business on a sidewalk, drivers in China often use the sidewalks to PARK their cars, so the pedestrian there hardly has a safe haven. In fact, they don't as a general rule, at grade. This is why there are 10 times as many fatal accidents with vehicles in China per 100K vehicles than there are in the USA. They have many more pedestrians in harms way, as a default. In the USA, we mostly drive cars and are "protected" from severe harm from other vehicles, as a default, with the exception of very high speed accidents where even a seat-belt or airbag is not going to save you.
I personally experienced the very exciting transportation system in Hong Kong, China, and underneath these same streets are extremely modern subway systems that rival any in the world. They also connect the Island to the mainland, and include a high speed express service to the airport. It is fun to navigate, very interesting and despite the massive double decker buses right near the sidewalk curbs at brisk speeds and quick stops, if you are careful you will not get hit... but the potential is still there, with careless on either side. The numerous fences help, but they are no match for an out-of-control bus or truck or car. They help guide pedestrians, and help pedestrians not make a fatal mistake by stepping off a curb. Despite the obvious dangers of mixing pedestrian traffic with vehicle traffic in large numbers, I still like the system. It is exciting and interesting, especially from the vantage point of a front seat on the second floor of a double decker bus!
Grant Johnson, TE is a Traffic Engineer in CA who spent 2.5 years in China avidly studying and documenting traffic there. There are big differences between the USA and CHINA, some good some not so good.