Taipei Stories and Tips

Driving in Taipei

I don't know whether to consider myself lucky or unlucky to have driven Taipei's roads. If you don't want to miss the sights and want to avoid unnecessary headaches, then please do take taxis or public transportation or just walk. But if you are into a thrill ride, well, then driving into Taipei does qualify as one such thrill. Basically, there are just no rules when the Taiwanese (I think this applies to most of Asia, but nowhere did I find it so flaunted as in Taipei) get behind the wheels of their cars or motorcycles. Nowhere have I found that demarcation in the road, i.e., lanes, had not meaning at all. On a three lane highway, I have counted as many as five cars lining up the road. On a two-way street, cars heading in one direction may take up all lanes. It does sound awful, but I think the Taiwanese have perfected the art of avoiding each other, though I believe they do have a high accident rate, and no wonder. Once you have gotten the hang of it, it's quite fun. Then, things are more complicated because motorcycles are not allowed to ride on car lanes, but cars are allowed to drive or park on motorcycle lanes, so figure that out. Then motorcycles are required to park on the pedestrian footpath, so the pedestrians have to, what else, walk in the motorcycle lanes. Go figure. This makes for what started out as a fairly dense city a complete chaos. I don't know whether things have improved, for it has been a while since I last visited. I think your spleen ? (in Chinese custom the spleen supposedly supplies you with courage), just got bigger in Taipei. Thankfully, it immeditely shrank back when I got back to the States, otherwise I would have been clamped in jail long ago.

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