Saturday, July 14, 2007

Wasai---Scooter Flows

Nothing quite compares to driving in Asia. Especially since I’m broke, and not wanting to pay the high price for gas, almost always ride my scooter. It took me at least a month to really figure the scooter situation out. One of my friends had to fill me in on the ‘scooter box’ rules in big intersections, and if it wasn’t for them, I’m sure I would never have got it. Another one of my friends described the myriad of scooters on the road like a river of water, flowing around everything else. They couldn’t have been more correct. In many ways it’s really a miracle that so few people get hurt, with so many people moving in so many different directions all at the same time. And what’s more, many are not wearing very much by the way of protective clothing in case of an accident. On the flip side, when I do drive my car I’ve often been shocked by the way this river of scooters simply flows around me as I drive, but never quite touches me, and I have learned that I can drive with confidence that no one will hit me.

Now it’s been ages since I’ve driven in the States, but I still remember some big differences. Most come from the simple discrepancies in circumstance derived from more available land, and thus wider and more open roads, and much fewer motorcycles. In the United States the situation is so different that we often have problems with people falling asleep while driving, because you can go for a half hour without really thinking about what you are doing while driving. And my whole attitude about driving was different in the States. While I usually drive carefully in Taiwan for fear of getting hit by a car or scooter, back home I drove with a different type of fear. That was the fear of the police. What I’ve observed in Taiwan is that usually it doesn’t matter what you do on the roads, you probably won’t get a ticket unless you speed by one of those ticket giving cameras on the highways. But in the States it seems that the cops come out of nowhere to get you, and always want to ticket you for any mistakes you make along your way.

Ryan Barber

related videos:

Taiwan Drift

Discover Taiwan: transportation

For Expats

For Taiwanese

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