Taiwanese ability to negotiate each other on sidewalks and road

How do Taiwanese negotiate each other seemingly using no use of their eyes.
Asians in my experience walk slowly and drift side to side unlike regimented westerners. But often make eye to eye contact.
Taiwanese don’t seem to need this, do they have a extraordinary built in “ echolocation”
Weird sometimes when observing seems to be no spatial awareness, each person acting as only one on the sidewalk or road.

You’re responsible for what’s in front of you.

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I’ve often stood in amaZement how cars scooters and pedestrians can all drive along a sidewalk without so much as touching each other or even using the road.

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Lack of spatial awareness. Heard this in Korea too. A woman once had a flat and parked her car in the MIDDLE of an overpass just past a bend. A tour bus didn’t see the car parked there until it was too late, and hard veered to avoid it, but ended up careening off the overpass. About a dozen tourists died.

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I’ve thought about this quite a bit.

For other pedestrians I think people have a shorter distance within which they will adapt to accommodate others. For me I’d be taking account of others before they take account of me. So I am drifting to the left cause a person is to the right, however from their perspective I’m not registered on the radar yet.


I’m pretty sure it isn’t echolocation, so you might want to go back to your book about “Asians”.

For both scooters and pedestrians, I think it’s a combination of what @Marco said (everyone being responsible for the area in front of them), mostly using peripheral vision I guess (at least as a pedestrian), avoiding sudden changes in direction that the person behind wouldn’t be expecting, and each person subtly indicating their intended direction of movement and willingness to yield.

For the last one, for example, I’ve found that when you realize you’re on a collision course with another person while walking in an MRT station or whatever, you can fairly reliably get the other person to change course by simply continuing to look in the direction you’re going and refusing to acknowledge them.

I should note that this technique doesn’t work as well in China, where a lot of locals are apparently unaware of others and seem to think that they’ll pass through you like a gas (and are genuinely shocked when they don’t). In those situations I tended to just do my half of the job to avoid collision (more like 60-70%, but I’m generous), tensed the appropriate shoulder, and let physics do the rest (I was generally bigger).

Asian echolocation, haha. Thats funny.

Many westerners ask this question. The answer is actually far more simple than you think. There are LOTS of accidents. Kind of as predicted. The police doing road accident cleanup are some of the fastest working folk on earth.

I still recomend checking behind you. And to both sides. And above. And below. Might save your life…


That’s my point … Taiwanese don’t!
We have to! in our instinct.

Cities only electric scooters allowed (Nanning, Qinhuangdao) at night with no lights on. SBD silent but deadly on road sidewalk any way to go.
That’s when I did use subways and bridges for crossing the road.

The “Asian” part named above doesn’t hold water.

Folks in Japan are hyper conscious of their surroundings. If they are not, they are typically viewed as a social menace!

In short, spatial awareness does exist on this continent and can in fact be learned.


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Japan exists in its own category completely separate from the rest of East Asia when it comes to cleanliness, organization and spatial awareness.


Folks in Japan are hyper conscious of their surroundings.

I’m not sure about that!

Every day I was stuck behind some slow-ass zombie staring at their phone barely moving forwards.
Especially annoying at train stations.

Especially according to them :slight_smile:

I have a special hatred for the dickheads who try and walk into the elevator before you’ve exited (ground floor obviously).


I just block them. Stand in their way and give a disparaging stare. Same on the MRT when I’m disembarking. It’s almost always entitled old people or high school zombies.
And I’m a small bloke. The withering gaze does it.

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Well, it is.

Hence my agreeing.

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I stupidly cycled on riverside to Tamsui today, of course after a month of cloud and rain was very busy.
Nightmare cycling back mostly uBikes that when hired are a license to cycle aimlessly from side to side, side by side impossibly slowly.
Average speed on return was 12kph normally 26kph.

Kids riding bicycles on busy bike lanes along the riverside = accidents!