I made a decision some time ago to stop driving so much and get off these crazy roads for fear of being killed or worse, laid up in a hospital with a broken neck/back/paralysed.
Now I am not so sure that I have made a good decision.
Most Forumosans who live outside of Taipei probably know Taiwan is not a pedestrian-friendly country. The lack of sidewalks and the use of sidewalks for business negates numerous safewalking situations. So most people walk on the street and dodge traffic.
But I since I reduced the commuting I did by scooter and began walking more and using the MRT, I think my life has been in more danger from idiot TW drivers who run red lights and ignore pedestrians who are legally using the crosswalks and sidewalks. I have had at least three close calls where cars have actually brushed up against me while they weave through busy crosswalks, and have been forced to stop crossing a street on numerous occasions because car traffic refused to yield to pedestrians.
Today a motorcycle that was running a red light came within inches of hitting me as I crossed the street on a crosswalk because I had the green light, which doesn’t mean much in this country most of the time.
I have also witnessed at least one extremely close call when a TW driver did not look when he was turning left on a green light and came within inches of directly hitting a pedestrian legally crossing the street on a green light. What…these drivers don’t expect one of dozens of people to be crossing a street? Honestly, they look shocked when they realise people are indeed exercising their right to legally cross the street.
I would love to hear from others on this subject. I think drivers are hoping that if they look like they are not going to stop, people will back off and let them through but I don’t and it really shocks them. Other people see me crossing and join me even though it is their right to do so because they have the green crossing light in their favor. Certainly I understand traffic has to move but not at the expense of dead, injured and scared pedestrians.
On Sunday I literally had to help an elderly lady across the street at a marked crosswalk on a green light becuase so many cars were turning onto the street that she was scared of crossing. I have also had to do that for my gal and her daughter on a couple of occasions because they were terrified of the traffic that should have been stopped. The couldn’t believe I was crossing the street on a (gasp) green light.
The selfish behavior of TW drivers cutting each other off is something I am used to but this selfish “Me First” attitude of bullying people off crosswalks is astounding. I like to think they just don’t know the rules of the road but if the crosswalk is packed with pedestrians, it is pretty obvious you should at least wait until most of them have crossed the street.