Scooter Scratch-Attack

Having observed the high proportion of cars here that have scratches
along the sides from scooters coming too close my question is:

If a scooter drives past me & puts a scratch dowm the side of my car at a junction what is the correct course of action? (I have had a few clip my wing mirrors as they drive past so its only a matter of time).

  1. Mutter “@#$%ing bastard” in as many languages as I can think of & drive on ?
  2. Get out & ask for compensation ? If so ,whats standard ?
  3. Take the plate number & report to the police ?

or Other ?
I’m interested in this both as a car driver & as an occasional scooter driver.

If this has already been covered elsewhere ,could someone please point me to the right thread.

I would venture to say, none of the above…

You should choose option #1.

Scratches in Taiwan are just a fact of life, for both scooters and cars. :frowning:

It goes against my natural inclination. ie if someone has just put a
big scratch down the side of my car thereby reducing its resale value
by a few thousand $NT & I can see that person sitting at the lights.
I do nothing ?
However ,if it is a huge cultural gaff to do anything then I dont want to go against local customs. Having said that I have seen a few pretty heated arguments between the locals over minor traffic incidents …usually between 2 cars though. Is it a different rule for car to car contact ?

Scuba, for some reason, which nobody seems able to explain or justify, in the case of an accident the scoot rider seems to have rights over a car driver in Taiwan. If you confront them they’re just as likely to point to damage (real or imaginary) that your car has done to their scoot and turn the tables on you. I’d go with the advice you’ve already been given.

Scuba, I see your point. I guess if it were a big long scratch, then I would probably get out of the car, grab the scooter driver’s keys and wait for the cops. If it’s a question of a dinged mirror, I would let it go. (I have been responsible for a couple of dinged mirrors myself) :blush: Minor scuffs and scrapes probably aren’t worth the effort either and almost certainly won’t have the desired outcome, i.e. compensation.
Collisions are another matter altogether.

Dents and scratches are normal here. Got a few - most of them while parked. Buy a cheap old dented car and ignore the scratches. You’ll spend too much time arguing otherwise.

When someone recklessly puts my life or limb in danger, I go ballistic. When someone merely dents or scratches my transportation tool, I just accept it as part and parcel of driving or riding around in Taiwan. If I’m using the machine when the damage happens, I give the offender a “Did you really have to do that?” look, he or she apologizes profusely (“dui bu qi, dui bu qi, paisay, paisay”), and I leave it at that. Cars, scooters, bikes, whatever, are going to get bumped, battered and scraped in this crowded, chaotic environment. If it doesn’t happen while they’re in use, it’ll happen while they’re parked. Just as a little boy’s shoes will get scuffed, you can’t expect anything else. So you’d better just shrug your shoulders about it and not let it bother you too much. That, anyway, is how I look at it.

I agree with Holgar. Buy a vehicle that runs well but maybe already
has some scratches or dents. My used car had alot of dents and
scratches which were all put on it by the previous owner. I sort of
liked it because alot of people kept their distance from me on the
highway and elsewhere as it looked like I was a horrible driver.

Things get bumped and scratched because no one cares at all about anyone else’s property. Other countries and cities are crowded and chaotic, but the residents show some respect. A lot of this carelessness comes from always escaping the consequences, or ‘paisay paisay’-ing your way out of it.
I used to drive a series of ugly beat up cars here and enjoyed the game of chicken a lot more than I do now. It was a lot easier for my wife too when I wouldn’t notice the dings she regularly puts in the cars. :slight_smile: Now it’s a routine annual trip to the bodyshop trying to keep up with the dings the careless and uncaring prats bestow upon my wheels.

There are just too many scooters and cars on these streets, which results in very close quarters for all concerned. I’ve knicked a few rear view mirrors in my time (took one off entirely one time before proceeding to bounce over the hood of a taxi, but I paid the guy for it), even though my motorcycle is narrower than most scooters. Just remember that in a scooter/car scenario, you risk scratching your paint while the scooter is risking his life. Not everyone can afford a car or the fees owning a car involves. That said, this doesn’t excuse a lot of the ridiculous scooter behavior that goes on.

There’s no way you stop a scooter that scratched you. What if it is a betel nut jawing thug? Think even a normal person can’t get your plates, find out who you are, and have your windshield smashed in some night? There’s never any point, once a Taiwanese is involved in a dispute, where they will shrug and say live and let live…they will continue escalating until you fold or they are dead. You can’t win, in all cases, they are usually willing to be more uncivilized than you are.

Just let the scooter drive on. It is almost never worth the hassle. They will just claim it was all your fault and how will you prove different? As someone else pointed out, in Taiwan the scooter is always right…

I have been hit twice by a$$holes on scooters passing me on the left as I attempted to turn left. In both cases because of low speeds little damage was done. I just got out of the vehicle and stood there impassively while they picked themselves up. Both drivers were female, or there might have been a confrontation. I have been scratched numerous times. My advice is just to get used to it.

I have seriously considered installing a video camera between the seats to record things when I drive. Every day, too many near misses.

I’d stop shouting at assholes on the road. Ever been cornered by pipe-wielding gangsters in a cul-de-sac? I was chased down once for yelling at guy who drove me off the road. He followed me into a cul-de-sac and got out, with a pipe. In the car were two women and another man. He starts banging on my car with the pipe, and threatening me, tapping me on the shoulder >hard< and stopping just short of cracking the window. The whole time he is threatening me in a pleasant undertone, the others are watching and laughing. Finally, the a$$hole in the car leans out and gives the trademark dumb grin with “HELLO!” at the top of his lungs. It was surreal. Fortunately, I groveled and begged, and he didn’t do anything. It turned out later he lived in the neighborhood. I think he recognized me…

It CAN happen to you. Don’t think it won’t. I was also once chased after a taxi driver hit my bike, and another time a scooter driver came all the way across the road, ran me down, and rammed my bike hard enough to knock me off, then rode away. To this day I have no idea what prompted that. I’m not that ugly!


Thanks for the suggestions. Clearly the consensus is : let it go
& avoid any confrontation.

Vorkosigan’s post made me feel that I have been living in somewhat
of a vacuum since moving to Taiwan 18 months ago. When people
(from outside) ask me what I like here, one of the comments I always make is that I have never once felt physically threatened. Taipei always seems safer to me than most of the major cities I have visited around the world.
Vorkosigans experience certainly challenges that view.

Taiwan is pretty safe as long as you steer clear of gansters and ride busses.

I have been treating the roads like a big hockey game. Last night, while riding my bicycle home, a xiaojei trying to pass me with her little two stroke got herself a nice little scare as I leaned into her muttering “can you move over a little?”. :shock: Hehehe! :stuck_out_tongue: I got a heart felt “I’m sorry, I’m sorry” (yes, in English) before she sputtered off in a cloud of unburned hydrocarbons.

Another trick I use to avoid confrontation is to wear my discman while riding and sing rock n roll songs at the top of my lungs as I zip in and out of traffic (“This is is the story of the Hurricane, lalalalalalala”). Really is great sport and as friends of mine are fond of saying:
I am a lot of things, but a singer I’ll never be. 2X Hehehe…

My suggestion…get a bicycle…Taipei is flat, flat, flat…you can get anywhere in the city faster than you can by car and almost if not quicker than a scooter or MRT. My personal best is KungKuan to deep Chong He in Friday night rush hour traffic in 9 minutes. :smiley:

And if push does come to shove…I always have my kryptonite lock to wield…hell…I could even beat Superman down with that… :imp:

So…have fun, be reckless and look crazy…the Taiwanren will give you a wide berth… :smiling_imp:

Ever notice that female scooter drivers here have a harder time turning. While guys on scooters tend to serve to avoid a crack in the road or just because they love swerving and feel like it, girls tend to drive straight as an arrow. I’ve seen several women drive straight into easily avoidable obstacles because they couldn’t bring themselves to turn. Strange.

I’ve also noticed that, with the exception of old farmer/worker types, women tend to ride the scooters that belch huge clouds of black smoke, while guys tend to go for larger 4-stroke scooters like the Majesty. I suppose maintenance and age have something to do with it, but it would be funny if it weren’t tragic to see an immaculately dressed elevator lady who obviously spent an hour or two on her appearance riding delicately on a scooter that is producing a large cloud of black, toxic smoke. Perhaps they should require exhaust pipes to be in the front of bikes instead of the back; I’ll bet people would want cleaner bikes then.

This is all my opinion by the way, based on my experiences here, in case Lesbrianna is thinking of calling me a vagina-hating man-pig for pointing out that women here drive differently from men.

When I was a kid riding the schoolbus the woman busdriver used to grind the gears and drive us in a herky-jerky way… we used to chant: “women drivers no survivors”.

I don’t think its so much an issue of women drivers as much people driving who don’t have athletic experience or an understanding of physics. If you have played a sport or spent time running around, you usually have an intuitive understanding of center of gravity and how to lean into a turn. Many people drive with a “point and go” mentality and have no idea how to use their weight to manipulate the scooter. What drives me nuts is when scooters and cars wait until they are turning before braking rather than braking before the turn and gently using the accelerator to push the vehicle throught the turn. That’s one of the reasons why there is always such a clusterfuck at intersections.

One reason is maintenance - most women here won’t fuss with their scooters until something is wrong. Change a spark plug? What’s a spark plug? Air filters? Huh?

Another is ignorance. Most women here will buy the cheapest engine oil for their scooters, thinking that all oils are the same. Strange when you consider the amount of body oils, lotions and creams most of them have…

Women also tend to gravitate towards the smaller machines here, which are invariably 50cc or 90cc 2 stroke polluters. Why don’t more of them get a 4 stroke bike? Because they think they aren’t capable of riding a “big” 125 or 150cc scooter. It’s kind of funny, because I know women back in Canada who ride bikes, and they limit themselves to bikes under 1000cc for the same reason, including one petite blonde friend who was just over 5 feet tall and weighed 43 kgs and traded in her 900 cc Ninja for a 600 cc Ninja becuase it was “easier to manage for a girl”. It’s all a matter of perception.

Funniest post of the week!!