The One-Way Street in India (an autobiographical story)

Essay by daawwgHigh School, 12th gradeA+, March 2004

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When I was visiting my family in India, I used to walk around town and wonder how drivers could tell if they were on a one-way street. It was obvious for vehicles trying to enter the street from the wrong end, because there were 'no-entry' signs. But that wasn't enough. Vehicles coming in from the other side needed to be told that they were entering a one-way street too, just in case they suddenly wanted to turn around and go back. In the city I was visiting at the time, Delhi, the transportation department must have wisely decided to save money by relying on people's observational skills. There were no signs at the entrances to one-way streets, only 'no-entry' signs at their exits. I guess it made sense because usually the traffic was so dense, you could tell one-way streets just by looking at them. Traffic would never make it an inch ahead in the wrong direction.

I decided to set out and expose the loophole in the legal system by showing the law couldn't prosecute me for turning around on a one-way street, although I had obviously done something illegal.

In India, bicycles are considered a type of vehicle. They can ride on footpaths and even squeeze between cars in a traffic jam. However, it was still illegal to ride a bicycle up a one-way street. Once I realized that there were no signs in the town, I decided to expose this serious defect in the legal system. My plan called for a bicycle, but since I didn't own one, and I hadn't made any friends yet, I had to rent one from a nearby shop. The bike cost a rupee an hour. I estimated I might need it for about a half-hour.

To get the money, I...