In Taipei, there is no hesitance; not even a hint of a second thought. The
first time I stepped from a Taipei kerb, it was as if I had transported
myself back to the deathly confines of the Colosseeum in Rome I dodged bus,
car and motorcycle, crossing like a dazed animal using only my keen sense of
survival for direction.
Surviving that encounter, I vowed only to use the
zebra-crossing. a big mistake. In Europe, it's magic. You place one foot on
the rectangular white blocks, and the city traffic screeches to a halt. In
Taipei, zebra-crossings are used much like a hi-lighting pen is used for
studying, they underscore, indeed expose, potential victims.
at a busy intersection, stepped boldly onto the zebra-crossing. I
looked back in amazement to find I was the only pedestrian with the courage
to cross the road. "Poor sheep," I muttered, only to be stirred from my
musings by the respective whooshing blurs of a bus, car and motorcycle
passing centimeters from my nose. I dashed back tot eh kerb, and hid myself
among the flock.
The ubiquitous Taipei motorcycle is the pedestrian's most feared and
despised enemy. For just as you miss being flattened by that bus, or side
swiped by that taxi, the unseen motorcycle strikes. The motorcycle is like
the shark, it never stops stalking its prey. Traffic could be stopped for a
kilometer, but the motorcycle glides through, undetected by the unsuspecting