In a word - manic. The roads are a combination of four or five lane one-way streets and the equivalent of back lanes
barely wide enough for two cars.
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There is no continuous flow. Chunks of traffic moves from one junction to another. Fast. As the lights change
you can almost hear the instruction, 'gentlemen, start your engines'. Traffic does not drive from one junction
to another - it races.
Motorcyclists - on anything from brand new super-bikes to decrepit mopeds - weave in between the cars, vans,
trucks and buses. Helmets are optional extras. Footpaths are also considered a right of way by most motorcyclists.
Rush hour seems to be from around 5am through to 3am - though 3 to 5 is not exactly quiet. On the main roads,
pedestrians should stick to the light-controlled crossings. On side roads, learn to swivel your head like an
owl and be nimble on your feet.
If taxi drivers see a fare, they stop. Doesn't matter where they are in traffic, they pull over. Great for
passengers. Not so for traffic flow.
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My favourite stretch of road is a section of Panepistimiou Avenue. It is a one-way multi-lane road that ends
at Omonia Square. At one junction, traffic joins the road, goes up against the one-way system for fifty
yards or so and exits on the other side of the avenue. Of course this is controlled by traffic lights, but
if the 'crossing' traffic is held up when the lights change, you have the bizarre situation of cars facing
up the wrong way of a one-way street when traffic is eager to come down. Hours of fun for the casual onlooker.
Although I have seen cars getting a ticket - even towed away - parking is mainly wherever there is a space. Road or pavement, it doesn't matter. SMART cars are very popular for that reason.
Having said all of this, I have never seen an accident. Not even a minor bump. Go figure.