5/05/2011

Taipei's Crosswalks



Are the crosswalks of Taipei for pedestrians to cross the street when the light turns green and beckons to them to do so? Or are they purely decorative -- geometric patterns to break up the monotony of our city's abundant cement in its blue-gray?

I took this video tonight at the corner of Dunhua (敦化) and Civic Boulevard (市民大道) in Taipei. I cross the street every night on my way from the office to the MRT, so I'm pretty used to having to duck, dodge or flat-out stop to let cars pass. Here, a driver almost takes out a group of six or seven pedestrians, myself included, to make a right-hand turn. It seems the driver was in a hurry to make the red light going on 50 meters down the boulevard. He was also talking on the phone, but not so engrossed to miss me filming him on my iPhone. How do I know? Well, we made eye contact. Then he jumped up off his seat and almost swallowed his cell. 

To change things, I'm starting to believe, it's up to Taipei's citizens to be vigilant. Here's my contribution. By the way, I managed to catch his tag (license plate number). Watch out for G49950 if you're out for a stroll. He's reckless in how he wields his vehicle.

I've decided to start filming this intersection every evening I pass over it. I'll throw the clips up YouTube from now on.




9 comments:

Carrie said...

That is an especially dangerous corner in Taipei. I'm glad you're going to be vigilant about catching irresponsible drivers there. I know I've gone after a few in that region myself!

Oh, and keep an eye out for elderly women on bicycles who pull up behind you on the sidewalk and honk until you get out of their way. :)

Patrick Cowsill said...

"Oh, and keep an eye out for elderly women on bicycles who pull up behind you on the sidewalk and honk until you get out of their way. :)"

That'll be my project for next month.

Okami said...

The only thing I would worry about is being sued for defamation of character or some such nonsense. I carry a large rock in my kid's stroller as pulling it out and showing it tends to dissuade most crazy people from messing with us.

Patrick Cowsill said...

"The only thing I would worry about is being sued for defamation of character or some such nonsense."

Somebody told me the city was actually encouraging us to photograph law breakers and even offering rewards. I don't know if it's true though.

Okami said...

Maybe they are Patrick, but you know how Taiwan's governance is, left hand says do this and then the right hand says no, I don't know, or any random outcome. Us foreigners just don't understand Chinese culture.

@Terri
I thought he was already doing that? ;)

Patrick Cowsill said...

"Want to do a blog where people could submit pictures and/or videos of people driving erratically or parking on sidewalks?"

It sounds interesting. But I'm also getting tired out from doing public service. I want to go back to posts on local history.

Just out of curiosity, what do you have in mind?

James said...

Let's do it! I've already been given a suggestion for name: Shame On You or Have You No Shame?

A bunch of us doing would have soooo much ammo. Just the odd post now and then from everyone would do it.

John Scott said...

Drivers in Taiwan are apparently more concerned about getting their car scratched than they are about hitting a person. When I hold a metal-tipped umbrella out in front of me when I'm on the crosswalk, I'm sure they think I'm a lunatic, but they do yield, or at least give me an extra meter of space.

If they don't show signs of slowing down and are expecting us to leap out of their way, I stop and cock the umbrella back with both hands like a baseball bat, and that usually gets their attention.

But I should probably be more careful. My girlfriend sometimes gets angry at me and says I'm going to start a fight one of these days.

If I was disabled or walking with a child I'm sure I would get even angrier.

But it is like so many other things in Taiwan-- it is pointless to have a crosswalk, a bike lane, a "pedestrians have right of way" sign, etc. if the police still do not think it worth their time to enforce the related laws and rules.

James said...

What John said. Missus says the same about me and I nearly have had a scuffle a few times.

And, yes, when I'm with my kids my blood boils and I could kill some of these selfish no-dickers.