Taipei Thing #1: Drive a scooter

23 May

This idea comes from Jonas, who got to drive a scooter on his last trip to Taipei. For folks who don’t live in scooter-filled cities, driving a scooter (or a moped, as some say) is a cool experience usually only done while on vacation. For people who live in Taipei, however, scooters are a part of everyday life (and sometimes death, unfortunately).

Completing this task was relatively easy, since I already own a scooter (the very photographic Yamaha Vino, which will probably appear again in future posts) and have a few years of experience driving in Taipei. I don’t, however, drive my scooter very often, since I prefer the clean & calm of the MRT (or a taxi) to the choking fumes of sitting at a stop light among 50 other scooters. Still, I decided to make this my first task, since driving a scooter is so very Taipei, and I also needed it to get to my main destination of the evening…

Note to Taipei visitors: Though a scooter is a great way to get around once you know the city and its ways, I wouldn’t actually recommend driving a scooter on your trip to Taipei. Taipei traffic is dangerous, not only to scooter drivers, but also to cyclists and pedestrians. It’s certainly more regulated than, say, China or the Philippines, but Taipei traffic is still rather chaotic compared to western traffic. I see scooter accidents at least a few times a week, and am lucky to be one of the few scooter drivers in my social circle to have so far avoided getting hit by a taxi or another scooter. If you do decide to drive a scooter in Taipei, don’t do it as soon as you arrive. Take a day or two to observe how the city traffic operates, know the laws (such as where it is illegal to drive a scooter), and avoid driving during rush hours. Otherwise, the MRT & buses will get you nearly anywhere you want to go, and taxis are relatively cheap (about $2 USD for a short ride, up to $6-8 USD for longer trips).

4 Responses to “Taipei Thing #1: Drive a scooter”

  1. Jonas May 23, 2010 at 5:37 pm #

    drive it at 3am in the morning when no one else is around. that’s what i did. 🙂

    • ktvxiaojie May 24, 2010 at 3:22 am #

      Does 12:30am count? There was barely anyone on the street when I got to my neighborhood (which made Thing #3 much easier!)

  2. kaifu May 26, 2010 at 1:02 am #

    Hooray for the scooter ride, a first for me! (have been on a large motorcycle before) Wished I was bold enough to take pics. I gotta say, it provided a very different perspective of the city.

    • ktvxiaojie May 28, 2010 at 11:20 am #

      It’s definitely a different feel than in a taxi or on a bus. I’ve always wanted to get a camera mount for my helmet to record what I see while driving. 🙂

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