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June, 29, 2016

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Taipei culture is two-wheeled, motorized

The real cultural symbol of this capital is on two wheels with a motor.

Among the millions of ordinary scooter and motorcycle trips, there are quite a few that stand out. Some of the following are common, the others perhaps not so, but the top ten below are all accurate sightings.

Number 10 — it's been here a while now but the falling birthrate may see this slip out of the charts soon, yes, it's the family of four on a motor-scooter.

Number 9 — moving up one place from 2011's list: Five motorcyclists waiting at a red traffic light, three not wearing helmets and one of them being a policeman in uniform on a police scooter.

Straight in at number 8 — a motorcycle traveling at a good speed with a dog standing on the backseat. Full marks for balance, Fido!

Number 7 — and it's fallen back two places from last year. Two gravitationally challenged [heck, let's just say "fat" ladies on a motor-scooter, the passenger clutching a baby in each arm.

Number 6 — it's the perennial favorite, the workman on a scooter steering with one arm around 2-meter-tall planking and talking on his phone with the other. And occasionally taking a drag on his cigarette.

Number 5 — is that motor-scooter rider as scared as she looks? Trailing both flip-flopped feet very close to the ground, presumably she thinks she can kick herself upright if she loses steering control.

Number 4 — and we're entering the realm of "did I really just see that?" Yes, it's the motorcycle with a full-size twintub washing machine haphazardly lashed to the backseat. [Roosevelt Rd., Taipei]

Number 3 — ah, the propane gas cylinder delivery guy with four large bottles stacked on the back and two small bottles dangling from his rack, dragging on the road. We heard you coming, dude!

Straight in at Number 2 — in the middle of evening rush hour, approaching the narrow exit of Yongfu Bridge, rider on front motor-scooter [the engine of which does not work] is being pushed by the motor-scooter rider behind who's sticking out his foot against the rear panel of the front motor-scooter.

And finally, number 1 — Anhur Rd., Yonghur, December 2011, 7 p.m., a man rides his motor-scooter along this fairly busy road, in the dark, being followed by his goose desperately flapping and honking. It makes the common "dog-taken-for-a run-behind-motor-scooter-in-rush-hour" look very tame.

Only here.

“Eye on Taiwan” invites you to share your reflections and observations regarding Taiwan. Please send submissions to and include your (1) real name, (2) nationality, (3) contact number, (4) photo, and (5) profile. Specify “Eye on Taiwan” in the subject line and ensure your submission is at least 350 words long. Writers whose pieces are selected for publication will receive one month's free subscription to The China Post.
July 3, 2012    viennastar@
Here is another one. Last week one 7/11 shop in Xinzhuang was promoting Heineken beer along the street. It was giving it out to the motorbike riders and car drivers. It's not like that we don't have a drink and driving problem here in Taiwan. So much for common sense.
July 4, 2012    miller.henry641@
"There are no laws on Taiwan...merely suggestions.(c)"
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