Pedestrian Crossings


Saw an item on the local news about a month ago that Taipei's men in blue were going to start enforcing fines for cars that bully their way through crosswalks despite the pedestrians. Ho-hum, right? Another ticketing campaign that will last for a month or so and then fall by the wayside. But, lo - I actually saw a cop enforcing this on the corner of Chungshiao/Fushing yesterday afternoon. Pedestrians rejoice! Motorists be warned; he wasn't pulling people over, he was snapping pics with a telephoto lens.



Well, of course, it won't work. Fined drivers will protest that their human rights are being invaded, as usual.


Sometimes when it's a green left arrow light for cars it's also green for pedestrians so when there's a long stream of cars pedestrians still have to play chicken to get across the road.

This happens when cars are coming down Chin Shan South Rd., and turning left onto the road it intersects with near Spin (forgot the name of it - I live in Taichung now).


Yeah, it's a dumb way to set up lights. Even so, the law says pedestrians have right of way.


As if!



I never understood how anyone can inch their car through a crowd of pedestrians in the crosswalk and not feel like a total scumbag. Or weave their scooter through.

In Taiwan, most people accept it and expect it.

If I'm driving and I yield to pedestrians, the cars behind me will honk. The pedestrians will be so shocked that they freeze like deer. Sometimes it's easier to be a scumbag. Things will go smoother.


I once banged on the window of a passing car that cut up (almost hit) my BF and me as we crossed. The driver leapt out and started screaming: strangely, not about that, but how my Taiwanese BF was a "traitor" for "selling his ass". :noway:


After the driver of a big construction truck showed me a sledge hammer I stopped making gestures even I am nearly run over. At least I am trying hard.

No joke btw about the hammer. :astonished:


Since the three times I've been run down here have been at a pedestrian crossing - once on a bike, second on a motorcycle and finally on foot - I tend to be quite wary of these dangerous places.


Too right, Cookie!



I have philosophized about this for many years now. The city planners (and the drivers) seem to think traffic is less dangerous to pedestrians if it is turning towards them, rather than coming straight at them. So the city gives us both a green light, and the drivers drive very aggressively.

The best defense is to start walking before the light turns. It's illegal (and many Taiwanese are like little robots, they'll stand there like idiots waiting for a light to change so they won't be breaking the law) but safer than waiting for the light, for this reason.

The fairest punishment, I think, would be to make offenders lie down in the street for ten minutes, while traffic zooms by all around them. In other words, make THEM risk their lives for awhile. As for prevention, I wonder how expensive it would be to install automatic barriers at every street corner, which would physically prevent cars from turning until the pedestrians have passed?


But it's only a problem due to the agressiveness of drivers. In other countries the same arrangement works fine because drivers do wait. As with most of these things it boils down to (traffic) education and enforcement. IMHO.

I think it is rather stupid and suicidal, often vehicles jump the light immediately after it turns red and if you happen to be in the way ...

I rather wait a few seconds before walking and struggle with turning vehicles which usually move at a much lower speed.
Try not to look into the driver's eyes, most of them will stop then. However you still need to observe traffic and take great care since some of them won't stop at all. After all they have a lot to loose ... :unamused:


I was impressed with the way they handle the problem in Tokyo; at busy intersections, rather than having pedestrians cross with the traffic, they cross separately - all traffic stops and pedestrians cross the intersection without difficulty. The upside, aside from the obvious fact that a pedestrian doesn't have to worry about getting run over, is that you can actually cross the intersection diagonally, to the opposite corner as well. I've seen a little of this in Taipei, namely around the Warner Village, 101 area and on Chienkwo/Hsin-Yi by the weekend flower market. Might do with expanding this to include some of the busier intersections downtown at rush hour, especially around MRT stations.




You make an interesting point. I've also noticed the eye-contact thing. I think the rationale on the motorist's part is "We made eye-contact, ergo you saw me, ergo get out of my way because it's your responsibility to avoid me now".

I agree with your point about education and anger management, as well.
I remember when my wife, wanting to get her license and start driving our car, took the goverment-required driver's ed. courses. I was very surprised by some of the techniques she was taught, or not taught to follow. One that sticks in my mind was, when changing lanes, to check your mirrors, but not your blind spots, the reason being that if you physically turn your head to check your blind spot, the traffic in front of you will have already changed (read: someone will have cut you off) and you are putting yourself in danger. I guess the logic is, "mind what is in front of you and let what is behind you take care of itself.

Another piece of advice she was given by the instructor was, when making a right hand turn, to keep your eyes where you are going, rather than on the oncoming traffic that you are merging into. This is just naf! If I'm turning right, I would want to be sure that there was nothing oncoming before trying to merge with traffic. I assumed that this instructor was a one-off, but after seing a number of scooters barrel around corners without looking at what's coming tword them, I'm inclined to think that it may be accepted etiquette here.



I do the opposite. I give them such a look that they know I'm not stopping.




This a topic that I have some interest in. I'd like to share one of my tactics for dealing with the dangers of the crosswalk. If you have any feedback, I'd be glad to hear it.

I walk to work each morning. I have to cross several busy intersections on my way. IMO, for pedestrians the worst of these is Fu-hsing / Hsin-hai. The scooters turning right onto Fu-hsing rarely give way to pedestrians. In fact, they seem to aim for us. Many times I have had to pause in mid-step while a scooter competes for the pavement inches in front of me.

A few weeks ago. I had had enough. The scooter was coming straight for me. Instead of moving faster, or backing up, I stopped, raised my hands and shouted "Hey!" The scooter screeched to a stop a few feet away, and the driver nearly fell off. I finished crossing the street and stepped onto the sidewalk. I glanced back and saw the driver slowly ride away. I had made my point.

I haven't tried this again, though. It felt good at the moment, but I worry that repeating it might lead to other, less pleasent outcomes. I wonder if a pedestrian resorting to this tactic of self-preservation would be liable if the scoorter driver really did fall and get hurt.

BTW, at that same intersection, the traffic cop / volunteer traffic warden will stop vehicles turning right to allow pedestrians to make it safely across. Unfortunately, they are only on duty a few hours each day.


That's my neighborhood and I cross that intersection often when walking my dog. While I don't necessarily advise anyone to do what I do, what I do works for me. I simply never yield to cars or scooters. If they want to take issue with me for the same, I am there and readily available.

As difficult as this may be to believe, I'm certain that there are even far more Taiwanese drivers who think I am a jerk than there are Forumosan posters who think the same of me... :laughing: But, I don't care... the sons of bitches are going to stop and let me and my doggie cross safely, or else... I always think its better to let the inconsiderate assholes leave the scene angry than it is for me to walk away in anger.


I used to do what Tigerman does and I would still do it because as a pedestrian I should have the right of way (?) and 'teach' them that they are wrong but the problem is that some drivers may take issue with me by means of a sledge hammer, just run me over etc. ... and that's the point where I have to give in, even though I am the one walking away angrily.
Better angry than being in hospital (or dead).

Back in Germany drivers loose their license on the spot if they cut a pedestrian or if they don't stop at a zebra-crossing where someone indicates to cross, no matter if there is a traffic light or not.
Enforcement is strict and fines are hefty, which I believe puts lot's of people off from using their vehicles as 'weapon'.
Further traffic education starts in primary school by means of games & competitions (with assistiance of real police), usually on a bicycle. Kids learn on which side to drive, how to behave at crossings and junctions etc.
Driving school happens on the road, not on some car park or dedicated and closed-off track.
If Taiwan, and most Asian countries for that matter, would adapt some of this roads would be much safer for everyone.


Not to look any driver, regardless if he/she has a car or motorbike, in the eye was the first thing I learned about crossing a street in China many years back. Check out everything from the corner of your eye, slowly move forward until they have to pass behind you but don't yield (they wouldn't do it either). Works for me every time.

Still, those idiots running the red light right in front of the police station around the corner from where I live drive me crazy every day :smiling_imp:



Entirely sensible, but let's not forget: [color=red]Taiwan is different![/color]