Ancora una nuova legge da dimenticare! Posted by Serena on Aug 20, 2009 in Culture
Recently my English sister in law, who lives with her family in France, came to stay with us for a week here in Italy. Having bravely driven right across France in a car packed with herself, her French husband, her three young children and all the paraphernalia necessary for a family holiday, she had the pleasure of encountering for the first time the Italian Autostrada, or should I say ‘The Italian Driver’. She had many interesting observations to make about the incredible skills possessed by this well known species when ‘behind the wheel’. Such as the ability to drive one meter behind you when you are trying to overtake a lorry at 130 kilometers an hour, and the even more impressive skill demonstrated when they overtake you on the inside lane! One of her many astute observations concerned the usage of il telefonino (cell phone) whilst driving, “isn’t it illegal to drive whilst talking on a mobile phone?” she asked a couple of days into her holiday. In fact I think that she had really begun to believe, judging by the number of people she saw engaged in the act, that it was actually illegal to drive when not talking on il telefonino!
The answer is yes it is illegal, yes there is una legge (a law) forbidding it, but…….beh! what can I tell you about laws in Italy! Well, for a start there are lots of them, some very sensible, and some very silly, and the great ‘law factory’ regularly turns out nice shiny new laws which we all know that we must seguire alla lettera (follow to the letter) for the first few months, and then of course they loose their ‘popularity’, gather dust and are gently neglected. Neglected to the point where it would not seem strange to see un Poliziotto chatting on his cell phone whilst driving, or ‘illegally’ parking on a pedestrian crossing outside a bar to pop in for a quick espresso.
Which brings me to one of the latest ‘shiny new laws’ which it seems is being diligently applicata alla lettera (applied to the letter), at least for now. The government seem to have moved their focus from the four wheeled to the more easily apprehended two wheeled offender a.k.a the common or garden ciclista (cyclist). In fact they are so serious about the terrible two wheeled menace that law breaking cyclists who are in possession of a patente (driving license) risk loosing points or even having their license suspended. For your edification I’ve listed below a few exemplary cases recently reported by the media.
Guida la bici ubriaco, patente sospesa (Riding a bike whilst drunk, license suspended): In Migliarino, near Pisa a 24 year old was stopped by the police after they observed him riding his bicycle in an erratic fashion. The young man, a resident of Lucca, had his license suspended and lost 10 points for driving a bicycle whilst drunk.
Multato ciclista a Bolzano (Cyclist fined in Bolzano): A 40 year old man received a hefty fine and had 5 points taken off his driving license after having been caught by the police in the act of using his telefonino whilst in the saddle.
Ciclista passa col rosso, via 6 punti dalla patente (Cyclist passes through a red light, 6 points taken away): In Bergamo a 43 year old ‘entrepreneur’ had the misfortune of running into a police patrol immediately after having jumped a red light on his bicycle. For this infraction, the cyclist lost 6 points on his driving license and had to pay a 150 euro fine.
Now, if we had solved our problems with drivers who insist on ignoring the many sensible laws which exist for the good of everyone, then perhaps it would make sense to start penalizing dangerous cyclists. What do you think, do you have any interesting observations to make about driving in Italy?
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