Chinese Traffic Signs Part One

In this series of articles we shall have a look at certain types of traffic signs found on the roads of Taiwan. Whether or not these signs have an affect on the behaviour of motorists is debatable, but they feature a lot of keywords that are worth learning. We’ll keep to 3 or 4 signs at a time so not as to risk overloading you with new words:


The first sign is an interesting one, especially for foreigners – as this road is one way, but only for vehicles with more than three wheels.

The translation being:

Vehicles with more than 3 wheels forbidden to enter

So if you have three wheels or less, then you can enter. I suppose that means a Reliant Robin could enter, even though it’s a car 🙂

Reliant Robin 3-wheeled car

The keywords from this first sign are as follows:


Pinyin: jìn zhǐ
Zhuyin: ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄓˇ
English: to ban, to forbid, to disallow


Pinyin: lún
Zhuyin: ㄌㄨㄣˊ
English: 輪子 Wheel, 輪胎 tyre


Pinyin: yǐ shàng
Zhuyin: ㄧˇ ㄕㄤˋ
English: “and up”, above, more than. Likewise 以下 is below, and down, less than.


Pinyin: jìn rù
Zhuyin: ㄐㄧㄣˋ ㄖㄨˋ
English: to enter, to go in

2,試辦單體行人號誌燈倒數功能位於燈面外圍 (一圈60秒)逆時針每秒漸減方式顯示

2. The second sign is a long one, and really seems too overly verbose to be a pedestrian crossing sign.


Pinyin: shì bàn
Zhuyin: ㄕˋ ㄅㄢˋ
English: pilot scheme, test scheme, pilot programme


Pinyin: dān tǐ
Zhuyin: ㄉㄢ ㄊㄧˇ
English: single, individual. To understand why this word was used you must first understand that standard pedestrian crossing signals in Taiwan are divided into two parts: a second timer, and an animation of a person crossing the road. This particular crossing signal combines both the time and animation into one “單體” sign.


Pinyin: xíng rén hào zhì dēng
Zhuyin: ㄒㄧㄥˊ ㄖㄣˊ ㄏㄠˋ ㄓˋ ㄉㄥ
English: Pedestrian (行人) crossing signal (號誌燈)


Pinyin: dǎo shù
Zhuyin: ㄉㄠˇ ㄕㄨˋ
English: countdown, to count backwards


Pinyin: gōng néng
Zhuyin: ㄍㄨㄥ ㄋㄥˊ
English: functionality, feature


Pinyin: wèi yú
Zhuyin: ㄨㄟˋ ㄩˊ
English: is located at, is situated at


Pinyin: dēng miàn wài wéi
Zhuyin: ㄉㄥ ㄇㄧㄢˋ ㄨㄞˋ ㄨㄟˊ
English: the light fascia (燈面) surrounding (外圍)


Pinyin: yī quān 60 miǎo
Zhuyin: ㄧ ㄑㄩㄢ 60 ㄇㄧㄠˇ
English: one (circle) rotation (一圈) 60 seconds (秒)


Pinyin: nì shí zhēn
Zhuyin: ㄋㄧˋ ㄕˊ ㄓㄣ
English: anticlockwise


Pinyin: jiàn jiǎn
Zhuyin: ㄐㄧㄢˋ ㄐㄧㄢˇ
English: gradually (逐漸) decrease (減)


Pinyin: fāng shì
Zhuyin: ㄈㄤ ㄕˋ
English: method, style (of doing something)


Pinyin: xiǎn shì
Zhuyin: ㄒㄧㄢˇ ㄕˋ
English: to display, to exhibit

After all that, how does this actually translate:

Pilot scheme: single crossing signal. Countdown is located around the edge of the light fascia (one rotation is 60 seconds) anticlockwise gradually decreasing (method) display.

It still seems a bit ‘wordy’ and can surely be abbreviated somehow.

3, 機慢車兩短左轉

This type of sign is common in Taiwan, and relates to the system of dividing the road into two parts: a standard two-lane road in the middle for cars, and two lanes (one either side of the road) for scooters and bycicles. The result is that if a scooter or bike wishes to turn left at a junction, then they must wait at the right hand side of the junction for the lights to change to green before proceeding. The video below shows how this works in practice (at 0:25 bikes start waiting on the far side of the road to turn left):

The words on this sign are fairly straight-forward:


Pinyin: jī màn chē
Zhuyin: ㄐㄧ ㄇㄢˋ ㄔㄜ
English: Motorbikes (機車) and slow moving vehicles (慢車)


Pinyin: liǎng duàn zuǒ zhuǎn
Zhuyin: ㄌㄧㄤˇ ㄉㄨㄢˋ ㄗㄨㄛˇ ㄓㄨㄢˇ
English: two (兩) stage (段) left (左) turn (轉)

We’ll be looking at more street signs over the coming weeks so check back for updates, and as always, if there are any requests as to what Chinese materials we should review, please leave a comment a below:

2 responses to “Chinese Traffic Signs Part One

  1. 這篇很有趣,不過那三輪車跟台灣以前典型的三輪車差很多,呵呵~

  2. 謝謝Joyce,每一天都把新貼文PO上去真不容易,但我還是努力持續 🙂

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