Photo of USTDC courtesy of Les Duffin

Friday, January 18, 2008

Speed Traps In Taipei

You may have noticed that there are headlines from the Taipei Times and the China Post, both Taiwan newspapers, to the right of this blog. Every now and then a headline grabs my attention, like the one in today's Post that announced Speed sensors to be disbanded.

What surprised me in the story wasn't that they decided to discontinue the use of sensors, but that they ever installed them in the first place. That just doesn't mesh with my recollection of Taipei traffic where the only thing approaching traffic control was a cop standing on a box in the middle of an intersection staring off into space -- a sort of elevated state of meditation, you might say.

The use of sensors was discontinued because they were determined to be inaccurate, but a police spokesman responded to that charge by saying, "...although Taiwan has no standard for speed-detection technologies, its underground sensors are all required to have been produced [by] certified Taiwan factories or other authorized facilities. This fact testifies to their accuracy in speed detection."

In other words, "They're accurate because we built them."


John Hurst said...


As you can imagine, there were many GI’s with Datsun 240Z’s. We had 3 bachelors in our shop – all had 240Z’s, 2 blue, 1 silver. They were pretty careful about minding the speed limits in and around Taipei, but on trips to McCaulley Beach or CCK, there were a few places to open up.

Once, on a ride around the northern coastline, one of the 3 bachelors (Eddie M.) took me for a spin. We were cruising around all kinds of road traffic – ox carts, slow taxis, very slow trucks, bikes, etc. – then Eddie saw a long open stretch –and zipped it up to 100 MPH – very cool but very risky given all the potential traffic!

We zoomed past a Taiwan National police car – a plain red BMW (model # 2002) – very box-like - 2 cops – blue bubblegum light on the roof.

They pulled out in hot pursuit, quickly closing in on the lead we had – I think we were surprised at how fast they could go too! About the time they were getting close, we hit a very winding section of the highway, and lost them good. We quickly pulled off in a small town – and found a place to eat, and hang out until dusk. With the help of the restaurant waiter, we found a back route to the road leading to Peitou, then Tienmou. I’m sure those cops were looking for every silver 240Z on the road that evening, but they didn’t find us!

Don said...

Yeah, I worked with a guy (John C.) who had a Z and was a member of a club. I think it might have been called the Taipei Area Sports Car Club, or something like that.

Anyway, he talked me into riding with him to an event somewhere one Sunday afternoon. I still have an old 8MM movie reel somewhere from that day, but about all you can see is a glimpse of cars in the midst of massive clouds of dust.

I do remember that he drove to and from the event in roughly the same manner as you described. As sometimes happens with psychological trauma, I think I've blocked out most of it.