Scooter Saga Part III

So I got my Taiwanese scooter driver’s license…

A man walks past the entrance to Kaohsiung City Motor Vehicles Office. It’s a sunny day.
Kaohsiung City Motor Vehicles Office, Lingya Station. Photo: Lee Te Yung.

After failing my driving test last week, I scheduled my second attempt for this morning, planning to beat the heat.

Nonetheless it was around 30ºC when I arrived at the Kaohsiung City Motor Vehicles Office, Lingya Station, at 8:30am.

After paying the NT$125 (NZ$6.25) re-test fee, I had time for a dozen circuits on the outdoor practice track before heading to the real course at 9am.

This time, I passed.

The front side of a Taiwanese driver’s license.
Here’s my Taiwanese “ordinary heavy-duty motorcycle” driver’s license. Taiwan is a place of high technology, but its licenses are just pieces of paper with a photo glued on the front. (112.05.05 is the date of issue in Taiwanese format—and also the four-month anniversary of my arrival in Taiwan.)

Regardless of where you are in Taiwan, all scooter driving tests take place on near-identical tracks.

Here’s the circuit I completed in Kaohsiung:

Diagram showing the Taiwan scooter driving test track.
The Taiwan scooter licence driving test. The first step is the most difficult: traveling 15 metres in a straight line—without stopping—in no less than 7 seconds, on a narrow track (around 30cm or 40cm wide). This assesses your control and balance at low speed. It’s the only part of the test you can retry immediately if you make a mistake.

After starting with 100 points, minor infractions activate an alarm (which completely threw me last time), costing up to 16 points each time. To pass the test, you must finish with at least 70 points remaining.

As I learned last week, you fail instantly (by losing 32 points) if your feet touch the ground outside of the correct stopping zones. Then you must wait seven days to try again.

But after last week’s low-key fiasco, today I crossed the finish line with a full 100 points in the bank.

I feel redeemed.

A scooter rider passes the finish line of the Taiwan scooter driving test. A railway crossing sign and lights are visible in the background.
Crossing the finish line on my friend’s partner’s electric scooter, with a full 100 points in the bank. A few hours after this photo was taken, I test-drove and ordered a scooter of my own.