Here’s the boulevard on the east bank of the Tiber River in Rome heading north. It’s much busier than it looks.
It looked crazy busy from my seat on the bus.
And yet for some inexplicable reason I later retraced this route on foot along an undulating sidewalk just out of frame to the left. I’m certain there are more humane routes between the Coliseum and the Vatican.
Forget the Smart cars parked at right angles to the curb, the lane-splitting scooter riders and, of course, all the noise. You’ll wonder how the trees between the sidewalk and street have survived. The asphalt comes within inches of their trunks.
My advice to pedestrians? Don’t walk where I walked.
If you must experience the Tiber—and the sheer expanse of retaining wall on both banks is well worth seeing—approach it at right angles, take a few pictures and then retreat to the city’s quieter passageways.
But look around as you leave. In the middle of the motorized storm that spoils a good walk like no golf game ever could, you may see someone pedaling, calmly and purposefully, a Brompton.
And if you have the good fortune of spotting London’s best in the wild, keep in mind that the remarkable thing isn’t the person riding the bicycle; it’s the people in the cars on the same crazy busy street.
The remarkable thing is respect.