Why are There so Many Scooters in Taiwan?
Taiwan has one of the highest population densities in the world. There are656 people per square kilometer. And there are more scooters in Taiwan than anywhere in the world. Cities are dense and everywhere is walkable, which makes it a no brainer for scooters (or mopeds as they are also called) to be the main mode of transportation. You just hop on, drive, park it anywhere, and hop off. It's one of the best ways to get around an urban area.
If everyone in Taiwan sold their scooters to and bought a car, the traffic would be gridlock all hours of the day, and if everyone used the buses and MRTs, they would be packed like sardines. Scooters bring relief to both the traffic and the public transportation system.
But they also cause pollution, are very noisy, especiallywhen you're trying to sleep at night, and quite dangerous. Every Taiwanese friend I know in the South where scooters are even MORE common has scars from a scooter accident, some of them frightening.
If you're visiting Taiwan or planning to stay long term, either rent or buy a second hand scooter and see how convenient it is for yourself. Traffic jams are a thing of the past on a scooter. You simply drive through the middle up to the traffic light.
Don't drink and drive, and don't try to reenact the fast and the furious, and you'll be fine.
Scooters per capita data from ResearchGate; Per capita GDP from FocusEconomics