After our second exhausting day, I’ve noticed numerous examples of something that concerns me. There seems to be a disregard for human safety in China. For example, a very small percentage of bicyclists wear helmets. I think I could count on one hand the number of people that I have observed helmets being worn. Some of these bicyclists have motorized propulsion, which generally leads to higher levels of speed that is more sustained than on a traditional pedal bike, increasing the risk of injury. In the United States, I believe numerous municipalities have enacted legislation requiring head protection, sometimes only on children under a certain age. At the very least, head gear is highly recommended and many police/fire departments hold clinics and/or seminars on the benefits of such practices.
While at the Summer Palace, we went for a short boat ride in which I did not see a single personal floatation device. If this were in the United States, not only would there be a PFD for every individual on board, detailed instructions for use would be distributed before departure. Granted the risk for someone falling overboard or collision with another vessel may be low, I was still a little surprised to see not so much as a throw ring.
There does not seem to be any enforced capacity on public transportation. I’ve seen a number of buses with so many people on them, there are people standing in the aisles. This can be hazardous, especially if a sudden maneuver is required to avoid a traffic accident. Sudden maneuvers seem to be required on every city block with the amount of traffic on the roads, greatly increasing the risk of bodily injury.
I am not sure if the lack of safety features is seen as a major inconvenience, a cost-saving measure, or just plain laziness; the point is that many injuries and surely some fatalities could be prevented with simple safety measures. Even such things like buckling the seat belt while travelling in an automobile are quick, easy, and free; but do not seem to be practiced by a very large percentage on a normal basis.