Su pushes more bicycle lanes for nation

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Thu, Jun 01, 2006 - Page 1

Taiwan is planning to construct 2,600km of bicycle lanes by 2011 to help promote the use of bicycles rather than motor vehicles.

"The idea is to help save energy, protect the environment and promote the idea of riding bicycles. However, we want to avoid potential waste at the same time as well," Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) said.

Su said that the Cabinet's plan was to build bicycle-only lanes nationwide, and also to amend related traffic rules so that bicyclists' legal rights can be protected. While constructing the bike lanes, the premier asked officials to avoid wasting money by considering the practicality of the lanes in terms of location and material used for construction.

"You do not want to build a bike lane in a mountain area where bicyclists would not even visit. You do not want to cut down a lot of trees or pave over those spaces that used to be grass just to build a fancy bike track," Su said.

In the meantime, Su said that he was also concerned about the fact that, although the sale of sport utility vehicles (SUV) was decreasing worldwide, the sale of SUVs in Taiwan was growing steadily. He said that since SUVs guzzle more gas, they were anathema to energy conservation efforts.

"We will ask the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to do something about it. Maybe we should control the number of SUVs by raising applicable taxes. Anyway, we will do whatever it takes to protect Taiwan's natural environment," Su said.

In the 1990s, the Taipei City Government built the city's first bicycle lane on Dunhua N Road. The lane began in front of Songshan Domestic Airport, and ended at Dunhua N Road and Renai Road.