Well, folks, I’ve seen crazy driving in Taiwan, but tonight was the best so far. Taiwan – the Taipei area in particular – is full of scooters. Full. It’s full to bursting. It’s reached capacity. I frequently have to turn around and retrace my steps when I’m trying to walk somewhere because I’ve reached a dead end – not a dead end in the sense of a road or sidewalk actually ending, but in the sense of, “Oh, there are so many scooters parked on this bit of sidewalk that I actually cannot squeeze my body in between any of them in order to pass.” Taiwan is less populated than China, but it’s overpopulated: by scooters. There may be more scooters than people, the way there’s something like a 4:1 ratio of sheep to people in New Zealand.
So I thought I’d seen crazy scooter antics already. Not so. I’d barely scratched the surface – for tonight, here in the streets of 板橋, I witnessed a police car chasing a guy on a scooter. Squad cars can go anywhere, right? Sirens on, lights flashing: people get out of the way. Maybe so, but scooters don’t even need people to get out of the way. (Which, sure, means you, as a pedestrian, sometimes get clipped by a rear-view mirror or two….)
I’ve never seen a car travel so quickly down my street – but I’ve never seen anyone drive quite so evasively and zig-zaggily as this boy on a scooter.
These cops don’t stand a chance.
But this settles it: driving in Taiwan is too stressful for me. I’ll stick to the horrible 657 Jiangzicui – Tucheng bus. No scooter-purchasing for me.