Why do the police "direct traffic" in the mornings?

In Kaohsiung at least, all they seem to be doing is visually gesturing “yes, the light is now green” - and sometimes they use a whistle.

From what I can tell, their presence adds no material value to the flow of traffic, so why are they there? Punishment, or hazing of new cops?

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Something to do innit? Gets you out of the office…


Indeed. An opportunity to breathe the fresh air of a K-Town intersection at rush hour.


At least the cops actually pretend to do something with the waving and the whistle. The old taxi drivers they often use usually don’t even bother to stand in the intersection and usually are either in their car or standing next to it off to the side :laughing: Even they know better than to stand in the intersection with Taiwan’s traffic.

My first day in Taipei I was nervous crossing the street. Then I figured out how it worked.

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^ I’ve been living in Taipei for almost a year and seeing the way people drive here, I’m still nervous crossing the street.

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My take is they put them at intersections where cars often block the perpendicular direction traffic flow. So they are just a human ‘do not queue across intersection’ sign.

They certainly don’t give a shit about pedestrians that’s for sure, I’ve never seen one pay the slightest bit of attention to people crossing.


Their presence on some intersections is needed to persuade obnoxious selfish drivers to obey basic traffic rules and use common sense.

I experienced this a few times when there was no police present.



I like the left turn chain where the left turning drivers go bumper to bumper while turning in front of oncoming scooters. There is nothing you can do but watch them turn while the cops watch. infuriating.
Ive dreamed of just ramming a car at low speed but knowing my luck Ill get hurt and get the blame.


I think it’s to maintain order.

You can’t count on drivers, especially Taiwanese race car driver wannabe drivers with too much money to follow traffic rules. Taiwanese roads are probably at least 300% over capacity at the best of times. Without cops to direct traffic, and more importantly to make sure people follow rules, there would be more accidents and gridlocks.

Definitely not in Kaohsiung. I’ve seen that scary as fuck video of the hordes of scooters coming off the ramp in Taipei, but Kaohsiung has very manageable traffic levels, at the worst of times. The worst I’ve seen it (holidays excepted) is when cars have to queue to enter the underground parking lots of department stores on weekends, and I’ve never even seen that line go more than the closest stoplight, though I could imagine it going a bit further.

Those aren’t police.

They are there because abstractions like traffic signals and lines and waiting your turn mean little to significant percentage of drivers in Taiwan.



Weird how they have on police uniforms and vests that say POLICE then.

A whole 'nother layer!

They are police.

The ones in orange uniforms aren’t police, they’re volunteers.

But my old shop was right behind a police station. I see them come out on traffic control duties all the time.

Cosplay here is just getting out of control.

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Have you seen them actually try and stop cars from queuing in the intersection? I’ve only seem them do it three times. The majority of times they don’t seem to care at all.

I hope I never need an ambulance ride during rush hour in Taipei. Almost no one moves out of the way for them. The traffic people (not the police) usually don’t stop traffic to allow the traffic with the ambulance to flow through.

A lot of people don’t even respect the police. I was going to B&Q yesterday, I was riding a scooter. I was turning right and there was a car and 3 scooters in front of me turning right. There was a person trying to cross the road, they had the green light person, and the officer held up his hand to get the car to wait. Car was like nah and still went through so did 2 other scooters. I waited and so did the other scooter beside of me. Of course the officer didn’t do anything about the car that still went. I don’t think he really could have unless he noted the time and looked at the cameras later to send them a ticket.

Personally I think there should be two or four officers on random intersections every morning/afternoon. They should give people who block the intersections, run red lights, or don’t wait for pedestrians tickets. Have them in teams that way one person can watch and flag cars to pull over and the other can issue the tickets.

I’ve actually seen police do that a month ago. The only time in 5 years though. :laughing:

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Err no I haven’t but the intersection near me where the whistle blowing is going on is easier to get across than the others, others have buses frequently parking over the pedestrian crossing. So their presence does seem to lead to at least marginally better behaviour?

Some of the police are a bunch of cosplayers playing fancy dress ups.

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Those are the people I see every morning. As Taiwan Luthiers confirmed, they are not cops.

And as bdog pointed out, sometimes even the cops are not cops. : D


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You should be, a bus plowed into a policeman on the sidewalk here in Neihu last month