For those who drive in south Taiwan this information will come as no surprise, but a video from Tainan is making the rounds on Facebook showing how drivers in southern Taiwan, especially those on scooters or motorcycles, often consider traffic lights to be optional.
While some southern cities have made strides in improving traffic law compliance by adding more cameras and putting more traffic officers on the streets, in rural areas in southern Taiwan, the extent of noncompliance with traffic lights is almost comical.
In the Facebook video, a motorcyclist pulls up to a red light and stops accordingly. A person with a helmet camera behind the motorcycle rider then films seven other scooters fly through the red light with abandon. One rider even crosses the intersection going the opposite direction of the flow of traffic.
The person filming the light runners then approaches the one law-abiding scooter rider and asks him why he’s following the law. “You can see the light is red, right?” the cameraman asks. “Definitely red. Everyone else is evidently colorblind,” the law-abider responds.
If you drive in Taiwan, be aware that while drivers in big cities are generally relatively law-abiding, outside the downtown areas, an intersection with a traffic light should be approached with the assumption that someone is going to either “not see” or ignore it.