Traffic Travails

Yesterday I drove on my borrowed scooter, outside Yilan's city limits to a little town between Yilan and Luodong. I went into the office and they sent me to take a medical 'exam', which consisted pretty much of entering my height, weight and pointing at a couple of pictures (to check my vision). I excitedly returned to the office to take the test, and..... they wouldn't let me take it. She looked at my ARC (Alien Residence Card) and said there wasn't enough time on it!! This of course sounded completely ridiculous to me, but after arguing with her for a bit we finally left because I was getting really upset, and she wouldn't budge. I drove home disappointedly, and went to exchange the scooter for my Hello Kitty bike, pedalling home with a bitter taste in my mouth. Later phone calls to my Taipei office confirmed that it shouldn't be a problem, and that the lady was mistaken, so my co-worker tried calling again to see if I could take the test later in the week. She was still insistent that I couldn't do it. The next suggestion was that I go to Taipei to take the exam. SIGH. So for now, no driver's license for me..... waaah

Since I've been thinking a lot about driving lately, here are some of my observations on Taiwan traffic rules and practices that you just don't see every day in Western Canada.

  • You can't turn right on a red light.
  • There's a box at the front of major intersections specifically for scooters and bicycles. During a red light they all weave through traffic to the front, and then are the first to take off when the light changes.
  • According to one thing I read, the person turning left has the right of way.
Status Quo:
  • You can turn left from the far right lane, or if convenient, change lanes (so you're driving against the flow of traffic) and turn left from there.
  • It's acceptable double park anywhere you want as long as your turn on your hazard lights (in theory for 3 minutes or less).
  • You may pass someone who's going around a car that's double parked.
  • When the light changes to yellow, and then red, expect 2-4 cars to rush through the intersection before traffic begins to go.
  • Most pedestrians walk on the side of the street because sidewalks are usually blocked by vendors, parked scooters and various other obstacles, in addition to being at a different level in front of each store front.
  • You should honk your horn and optionally, flash your headlights before running a red light or stop sign


  1. yeah....there are good things too, like the bing dou hua with zhen zhu. ;)


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