Some years before I arrived on the scene in Taiwan in 1997, helmet regulations were already in effect for scooter drivers in urban centers. However, when I moved to the countryside a little over 2 years ago, a different world awaited me. Probably less than 1 in 10 of the local population bother wearing helmets. The local police force turn a blind eye. The epitome and funniest example for me of law infringement these past two years has been a friendly local village head, who drives around the community every day waving and saying hello to everyone wearing only his baseball cap for cranial protection.
The last two days pressure finally came down from county or national government officials to enforce the helmet regulations. Today in the daytime I saw several people driving around as usual without their helmets, but this time police cars were out in number on the streets to take the pictures of those not wearing helmets as their scooters passed by. Many of the scooter riders had no idea they were being photographed. One of my neighbors was busted. Tonight they had roadblocks set up on the road between townships to catch people unawares as they drove by.
Whether this will end within a day or two (as these kind of law enforcement campaigns often seem to do in Taiwan), or if this is finally the end for not wearing a helmet in this countryside corner, only time will tell. Stay tuned!