Driving in Tel Aviv

Today we woke up with a mission to get bus passes. We really needed to find another way to get to school with the chaos of driving and parking in Jaffa where the girls’ school is located.

For some background, driving in Tel Aviv and Jaffa can be a crazy experience! 


This is where Jim would say I’m exaggerating.  But, I know people who have lived here for years that are still terrified to brave Tel Aviv streets in a car.  There are 2 main issues.  The first is not being able to predict how all of the scooters, electric bikes, motorcycles, pedal bikes and how people in other cars aggressively drive.  They WILL dart out in front of you or beside you at any moment!  Texting and driving must not be an issue here because if you are not 100 percent focused, there will be BIG problems!  Police on motorcycles patrol the streets looking for anyone even glancing at their phone.  Israeli drivers also LOVE their horns and not afraid to use them.  Any minor issue, another driver will lay down on their horn for what seems like an eternity!

The second issue…there is there is NO WHERE to PARK! 


And by no where, I mean NO WHERE!  Drivers make up their own spaces pulling onto sidewalks, curbs,



blocking driveways,


any open area is free game!


There was a huge truck blocking half the driveway out of my apartment once, so I had to get around it by going the WRONG WAY down a one way street!  Unfortunately, this is very common with drivers not respecting no parking areas including driveways.  Drivers find a space, but someone else is blocked from leaving.   I couldn’t turn around so traffic built up and there were several horns going off in front of me as I tried to correct my direction.  Luckily a nice man got out of his car to direct me so I wouldn’t take out any of the cars lining the street while trying to right my direction.  I should note, Summer and I witnessed a car that was not as careful a few days ago.  He took off the side mirror of a car parked on the street and kept going!  We just stood there with our mouths open because the car never even slowed down!  


School pick up is another adventure!  There are 3 schools, including my daughters’ school on a street with 2 way traffic and NO PARKING.  As expected cars make their own spaces by pulling onto sidewalks and any open area they can find. 


But what makes this worse, there is a SECOND ROW of cars BESIDE the illegally parked cars with their flashers on.  Drivers essentially turn a 2 lane street with cars going both directions into ONE LANE.  So cars and huge city buses going BOTH DIRECTIONS are taking turns trying to squeeze down one lane! I have never seen anything like it in my life!  I was determined not to deal with it anymore by taking the bus to school with the kids.


Most people prefer the convenience of walking, biking or electric vehicles. Tel Aviv makes using them very easy to get around.


There are several main thoroughfares that are dedicated to electric bikes and scooters as well as regular bicycles and pedestrians.


In other places, designated bike lanes line the main streets to keep these vehicles out of car traffic when possible.


These electric vehicles are used like cars in America.


I love this about the city and we use them for about 90% of our commutes in addition to the public bus. I have an electric bike with a seat on the back for Mika, Jim has a scooter and Summer has a bike.  Josh also uses a scooter.  The only real problem is when it rains.  The streets flood easy and it’s dangerous to be on a scooter or bike when this happens.  


As a result, there is a huge demand for taxis and good luck getting one in a heavy rain storm!  Jim was stuck at the office once during a storm.  He had no way to get home since he scooters to work every day.  He and his colleagues happily took the opportunity for a bar night waiting for the rain to stop.  

I do occasionally have to drive to school and have found that I too am now one of the sidewalk parkers.  It’s almost commonplace for me now if I want to pick up my kids from school in the car. I’m told it will get better once a big construction project is complete that will bring rail service to the city.  Crossing my fingers that will happen SOON!  In the meantime, we are happy taking the #10 and #13 bus!


Does this ring a bell? Have something to share?