Taiwan Road Rage

I was driving my motorbike last night and stopped at the traffic lights. The guy in his tacky Honda Civic with the go fast strip pulled up and stopped his left wheel on my foot. I started hitting the bonnet of the car with the palm of my hand to get him to back up a little.

Next thing I knew he was out of the car, started kicking the back of my bike while cursing and swearing at me for hitting his car with my palm ( maybe he was worried the paper glue would come apart and his car would fall to pieces) with the wheel still parked on my foot. Luckly though it was not fully on my foot and just pined the corner.
After about ten seconds of screaming he hopped back into his car and backed up, I moved over to the side of the road, he pulled up around the corner came back.

Bascially began a rant again saying this and that in Taiwanese, and saying he would kill me. I just stood there and kept thinking to myself… you’re a brave man to be coming up to a guy 6 inches taller than you wearing a full face covered helmet with the visor pulled down and threatening him… I didn’t know whether to head butt the guy or just start laughing at him… really though I love watching this little altercations in traffic accidents as long as people don’t draw weapons and it stays a verbal assualt…

The best one I saw though was the guy in his blue truck who knocked over this bike at a junction when he was trying to squeeze in tight to the kerb to go right on a red light. Luckily the guy on the bike was not hurt, but the guy in the blue truck after screaming jumped out of the truck and started literally beating the bike with some sort of bamboo baton continously for about half a minute until he ran out of steam, and then jumped in the truck drove off safe in the knowledge that justice had been served to the person or thing that had caused the crash

From what I’ve seen road rage seems to be much more common in the US than it is in Taiwan.

this kind of thing is really typical of driving in Taiwan even when the rager is in the wrong. I have personally seen guys beating old taxi drivers for failing to give way and a group of 5 guys with baseball bats chasing a car, and then the group of teenagers throwing bricks at another young guy on a motorcycle. I hope it isn’t catchy.

That hasn’t been my experience; I sometimes see people get upset and flash lights and tailgate when upset in the states, but I have yet to witness even one event on the scale of those I’ve witnessed here.
I was literally side-swiped by a taxi on purpose, I think becuase I didn’t get out of the way fast enough (which was tough, as he was initially going about 100km/hr on a two lane road…). Good thing I’m not some old guy or something; I literally would have been killed. Hopefully the dented fender I gave him at the next stoplight will give him time to reflect on the negative karma of his actions.

In the four years or so I’ve been here, the number of knives, baseball bats, people getting out of cars, etc - most times when the other person did nothing wrong - seems to greatly outnumber any such experiences I had in my 20+ years in the states.

I’m an excellent driver… an excellent driver…

With the way people drive here I am suprised it hasn’t reached epidemic proportions.

Well, it hasn’t reached epidemic proportions yet but it’s going there. Just this morning the cab driver intentionally hit a motor bike which happened to drive in “his lane”. Nothing much happened but he wind down the window yelling at the older man an provoking a fight. I was nearly to grab his seat belt and strangle him from the back.
He followed for a couple of hundred meters, still yelling and then finally turned, apologizing to me. Didn’t even get a nod from me for that.
A few weeks ago similar happened while using the bus, just pushing the motorbike a bit to show who is the boss. Fucking idiots!

In fact I have been a victim myself - not here though but in Malaysia where I used to drive myself. Road rage was/is quite common there, too, but the government at least realized something had to be done and implemented stiffer laws (some people got stabbed by knifes or even got killed).

Here my story:
Waiting at a traffic light a motor bike stopped beside me. Just when starting to move as the traffic light went green the guy lost his balance and felt against my fender, but nothing further happened and he was still standing - so I drove off.
At the next traffic light I had to stop again and saw the bike pulling up behind me, the guy gets off, goes to the back and comes back with a wooden rod.
He tried to smash my windscreen and side window, both of which failed (thanks, Toyota!).

Stupid me went out to take down his number and he didn’t do a thing, just standing by his bike again and waving his stick. But when I went back into my car he threw the rod into my back. Didn’t hurt but I thought enough is enough and went to face him. Unfortunately he managed to punch me once or twice just below the eye before I could grab him.
Then another driver came out of his car - but not to help, just to complain we should give way as the light turned green already!
Well, the guy took advantage of the situation, jumped on his bike and was gone.
I thought I can’t let him get away and went to the traffic police to lodge a report. They became extremely interested when I said it was a Malay (read: Muslim) and escorted me to the Criminal Police. Another report and then I had to go to the hospital to check my “injuries”. After that I had to go back (submit the report from the hospital) and then we went to the scene of the crime searching for the stick (now around 6 hours had passed …).

Anyhow, as I had his number plate the police managed to track him down and locked him up. If convicted he would have faced a minimum of 1 year jail (max. 2 years).
However it turned out that he was very young and he and his familiy apologized, send me a hamper and so on.
My boss (a local) advised me then to withdraw my report as otherwise he would have been blacklisted for the rest of his life and since the familiy got involved it showed they were serious about this whole issue.
Needless to say I did withdraw my report and let him off the hook. Not much harm was done and 5 days in the lock-up of the Malaysian police surely isn’t any fun either.

Yet it showed me two things:

  1. It’s not always the one at fault who is attacked, rather the other way around. (I have also be threatened many times by others when I honked at them or otherwise showed my disapproval when e.g. cutting me or nearly causing an accident due to their reckless driving.)

  2. Though I probably did the right thing (reporting the incident rather than bashing him up) I wasted around 6-7 hours on the whole thing.

And as with most traffic rules and regulations they are not or cannot always be enforced and prevent such situations, but ignoring them like it appears to happen here in Taiwan will cause the whole thing to escalate - with the growing traffice and lowering of the inhibition threshold this seems inevitable.

So is this another “loosing face” or just a way for people to blow of steam? :?:

PS: Later in Malaysia I had a 4WD with bull bar in front and a wheel base wider than the body - that somewhat prevented others from trying to force their way - and the two who tried probably still regret they did try. :wink: