Sat, Apr 15, 2017 - Page 8 News List


This Taiwanese carnage

Why are the police so utterly useless in Taiwan? Just this Thursday, I would have been run over by a car if I had not waited, as one must do in Taiwan, when crossing the street at a traffic light as a pedestrian, even though my light had just turned green.

There is always somebody who runs the red light just as it turns red — always, every single day. This instance was at lunch time and only 200m from our so-called police station.

In the evening, another scooter almost ran over me right in front of the police station, even though I was clearly walking a zebra crossing. The scooter came to a halt just 10cm in front of me and only after hitting the brakes hard.

I know zebra crossings are just street decoration in Taiwan, as one quickly learns, but it is unacceptable behavior nonetheless.

Later in the evening, with my little son on the back of my bicycle, a scooter crashed into us in a small street clearly marked exclusively for pedestrians and bicycles. Scooters keep using it, despite my repeated complaints at our police station (the very same one) over the past two years, alas, to no avail.

No policeman or policewoman is ever to be seen enforcing the law, nor are barricades put up to keep scooters from trespassing, which they do dozens of times a day.

I also know by now that publishing a letter in the Taipei Times is as useless if you want to effect any change in Taiwan as it is to complain to the police. When it comes to traffic behavior, people in Taiwan are reckless, foolhardy and inconsiderate, endangering, harming and killing innocent people every day. It is a national tragedy that is not being seriously addressed.

If I were to go through all the letters published in the Taipei Times over the last decade, I am convinced a considerable number would complain about the dangerous traffic in Taiwan, “Enough is enough,” (Sept. 4, page 6) and “Licensed to kill” (Oct. 7, page 8) being two recent examples, the former of which attracted a large response

Clearly, foreigners used to safer streets and police actually doing their job are shocked on a daily basis by the situation in Taiwan.

The government is finally addressing the issue of White Terror era victims. While traffic deaths are not comparable to the deaths of the White Terror era, deaths from traffic accidents by now far outnumber those from the White Terror era and are growing every day.

Is it not time for the government to address this daily carnage? Is it not time for the police to do their job and stop drivers and hand out tickets, by the thousands if necessary, until safety is restored on Taiwan’s streets?

I know it will never happen, but my conscience tells me that I must protest nevertheless.

Bruno Walther


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