Sunday, February 15, 2009

August 5, 2008 - Outside the Taiwan Railway Authority (or Administration) on Bade Road. Train wheels turned into parking lot barriers. At sunset, so low light.

I read an article today about a woman motorscooterist who was killed several years ago when a taxi driver let his passenger out in a not safe place. The woman swerved to avoid hitting the opening door, but fell and suffered head injuries and died a couple weeks later.

It was in the news today because a verdict was handed down in the following court case. Both the driver and the passenger were convicted of involuntary manslaughter and face either jail time or stiff fines.

I agree with the verdict. Taxi drivers are a menace in Taiwan, and pedestrians aren't much better in their complete disregard of watching where they're going, or looking before they leap. Although, I do think the taxi driver had greater culpability - it was his responsibility to not let a passenger out if there was any danger to traffic, and even at a red light, a taxi driver should know that motorscooter and bicycle traffic continues around his vehicle. He has greater knowledge of what is safe or not, and he has mirrors to check whether his passenger can disembark safely. The only reason he would let a passenger out essentially in the middle of traffic is sheer negligence and disregard for safety.

This is another good argument to establish taxi ranks in Taiwan, where taxis can only pick up or drop off passengers in designated areas. The way it is now, a free-for-all, Taiwan streets that are already overcrowded with taxis are made more dangerous by reckless taxi drivers competing for fares.

Negligence on the part of the taxi driver, obliviousness on the part of the passenger, I witness this everyday in Taiwan, and in this case it resulted in the death of someone who was innocently trying to get from one place to another. I hate to say it, but she probably would have survived if she didn't try to swerve and just plowed right into the passenger and the taxi door.

iTunes soundtrack:
1. Floating Dogs (Peter Gabriel - "Birdy")
2. Teentown (Kenwood Dennard)
3. D'yer Mak'er (Led Zeppelin)
4. Thunderstruck (AC/DC)
5. I Love You (Princess Princess)
6. Oh! You Pretty Things (David Bowie)
7. Tinfoil (live) (Rainer Maria)
8. Hinotama Jive (live) (Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra)
9. She's a Woman (The Beatles - Anthology)
10. Going to California (Led Zeppelin)


joyce said...

that's sad...i'm glad the taxi driver got convicted, but i don't think the passenger should've gotten the same sentence. i think your idea is a good one, about establishing taxi ranks. you should suggest it to someone. :)

keauxgeigh said...

Oh yea, the passenger got a lesser sentence, and since she was traveling for work, ironically a government agency, her employer may have to pay the fine.

If Taipei enacted all the suggestions I have to make it a better city, Taipei would be unrecognizable. Taipei would be handicap friendly, hahaha (not)!