Eoin Butler: writer, journalist and Mayoman of the Year

Tripping Along The Ledge



oh shit, he's on the wrong side of the road - get out of the way!*

I must say that I’m really fascinated by the road traffic switchover currently underway in Samoa. This is the first time such a move has been attempted in my lifetime, although similar switchovers have apparently been done in the past in Nigeria, Ghana, Yemen and Okinawa.

The rationale behind the decision seems sound enough (cheaper car imports), but the logistics are mindboggling: A two day public holiday, reduction on the speed limit and three day ban on the sale of alcohol. The Congregational Christian Church of Samoa has held prayer sessions for an accident-free changeover, while Samoa’s Red Cross carryied out a blood donation campaign in case of a surge of accidents.

So far, everything seems to have gone smoothly. But this Australian expert reckons there may be trouble ahead…

[* Yes, I know Lilt was supposed to be Jamaican. But you try writing these captions!]

September 9th, 2009.

7 Responses to “HERE COMES THE LILT MAN…”

  1. Conal Says:

    “It ain’t polyn-easy!”

    You can have that one. Love the drink ban, and the acceptance it implies.

  2. Eoin Says:

    Well according to that article the Prime Minister told his people not to drive if you are “sleepy, drunk or just had a fight with your wife.”

  3. Conal Says:

    Saw that, I love the campaign group name “People Against Switching Sides”, that works on 2 levels, and a contradictory acronym to boot!

  4. Matt Says:

    Whatever about Samoa – small island, pop less than 180,000, modern communications etc. How the fuck did they change over in Nigeria in the 1970s with 150m people and, presumably, shit communications networks???

  5. Eoin Says:

    @ Conal – People Who Don’t Mind Girls Switching Sides if they Want to Experiment and Stuff… acronym doesn’t work though.

    @ Matt – from the BBC website:

    I’m Nigerian and I remember back in the 70s we switched from driving on the left to driving on the right and there were the same concerns about chaos and confusion, especially when one considers the reckless nature of most Nigerian drivers. In actual fact, the changeover went quite smoothly without the chaos that many had predicted. It also brought uniformity with the neighbouring countries, thus reducing delays at the borders. I have no hesitation in recommending the same to others.

    Taiwo Hollist, Lagos, Nigeria


  6. fintan mezz Says:

    Also did it in Sweden in 196Os. Often seems an anticlimax, not nearly as much confusion as peopel imagine.


    […] albeit slightly outside of my target demographic. So what’s wooing the masses? Is it my geographical nous? Those racy cheerleader upskirts? Or that rollercoaster thread in which Darragh and I debated the […]

Leave a Comment