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B L Swiegers
 
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Taxis - From A to B... via bicycle lanes, pavements

18 February 2014, 07:23
In Cape Town, we are blessed with many things. Of these many things, Madam Helen has bestowed upon us the bicycle lane system between the CBD and the northern suburbs. 
Now, after passing my learners and drivers via the beloved K53 "defensive driving" system, it was instilled in my brain that my car belongs on the left-hand side of the road. Not being part of the syllabus, I feel the driving instructors felt that driving ON the road was simply common knowledge. 
Now I have seen Taxi's do many things in my short driving career. Stopping on red lines, over-taking on solid white lines. Ignoring stop streets, robots and any other obstacles that stand in the way of their coveted taxi fare. They don't exactly have their reputation for being defensive drivers...
Today, my eyes were opened. It was like a revelation vouchsafed upon me from a higher power. I witnessed an incident that made me question everything I have ever been taught.
I saw a mini-bus taxi not only drive on the pavement, but also hoot at pedestrians to get out the way.
And it got even better.
Like a well organised government convoy, another taxi followed suit.
These Mercedez-Benz's of the taxi world decided that not even traffic could halt their divine mission. They hooted and weaved through the pedestrians, cut back into traffic when an immovable object such as a light-post got in their path and marched on.
The taxi's were also a stark contrast to one another. One seemed relatively new, as if driven straight from the dealership in Khayalitsha. The other was a case of modern art. A sort of decoupage of motor parts held together with a bit of duct tape and kept moving with the help of a spray of Q20.
Not even contrasting backgrounds could keep these two star-crossed lovers apart. Like synchronized ice-skaters keeping on time with the assistance of a Kwaito/Metro FM beat, they were sublime in their contact-avoiding abilities.
Now hypocritically, I got off my own high horse and succumbed to committing my own traffic violation: I pulled out my cellphone for a quick snap. In my defence, I was in stationary traffic. In another generous gift from a celestial power, my blackberry didn't even give me the small "Clock o' Death" and was on point to take the picture.
The pictures are no Pulitzer prize winners by a long way, but I do feel I harnessed technology to capture a memory of when I experienced something for the very first time.
Thank you CA 940 007 and CA 458 104 - for turning my commute into an experience.
This was my experience, it would be great to hear yours below!  

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