I try to be an observer but no matter how hard I try, I can’t help but collapse with laughter at the new sets of traffic lights that have been popping up over Dili over the last couple of weeks. Fortunately, they have not been switched on yet.
It is a subject of great mirth for just about anybody living here, but no doubt, there is someone who has this as their pet project. For the moment, it is a huge laugh but one day soon, they will be turned on and I am laying odds-on bets that it will be a schemozzle of the highest order. Surely, it is a lumbering bureaucracy somewhere that came up with this.
I would love to see the traffic analysis figures but I have never seen traffic counters, of the human or mechanical variety so assume no figures exist.
You can drive across Dili in 15 minutes and apart from the odd traffic snarl due to either an accident, breakdown or sudden road closure, I can not recall ever thinking that traffic was a genuine problem.
But what came out of all the talk on the subject was that there is no road code apart from a 45km/hr speed limit in Dili proper and no drink-driving (when there is no mechanism to test for it). So who is going to stop for a traffic light and what will happen during the 15 hours per day when there is hardly a car on the road.
I have heard some wacky stories about the expected vandalism and methods of combatting it, but I will have to leave that one when I actually see it happen. Another huge laugh is a certainty.
Can you believe it ? Dili has 20 sets of traffic lights ! And 2 weeks ago, none.