surviving taiwan’s byways

I was told in South Korea that drivers would stop for pedestrians 50% of the time — I’d say maybe 10% — but in Taiwan, never — not even on a zebra crossing or with a green walk sign flashing.

It didn’t take long to adapt with my eyes radiating in all directions when I crossed a street. If a motor scooter headed my way, I learned to trust that the driver would swerve by me.

Drivers in Hengchun ignored the no parking sign near the main temple

But what I couldn’t get over was how drivers parked in southern Taiwan. In Hengchun a sign read, no parking on the sidewalk (the no got cut off my photo) yet drivers ignored the sign. Worse still, I often caught cars parked on the road rather than at the side of the road as if everyone should go around them.

Parking in Hengchun completely blocked one side of the road

One woman stepped out of her car blocking half the road so that only the opposite lane remained opened for traffic in both directions. She stepped into a vegetable vendor’s stall to do her shopping without a care in the world. The car in front of her had done the same. Yet no driver honked a horn at them. They seemed to accept that this was okay.

It was only when I reached Singapore where rules are obeyed, I realized that the pressure of crossing roads in Taiwan had subsided.

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