Wed, May 24, 2006 - Page 2 News List

New proposal for bike lanes floated by transport official

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced yesterday that bike lanes can now be built on sidewalks or in local districts that have walking areas reserved for pedestrians only.

Yin Chen-pong (尹承蓬), deputy director of the ministry's Department of Railways and Highways, said the new policy was based on amendments to the Road Traffic Management and Punishment Law (道路交通管理處罰條例), which stipulates that traffic signs and lines may be created and placed on sidewalks for the use of slow-moving vehicles on the condition that the safety of pedestrians and motorists was not compromised.

Yin said the scheme would be carried out in two ways. Special signs will distinguish between sections of a road that can be used by pedestrians and bike riders only, and sidewalks where bike and pedestrian lanes will co-exist.

In the first case, however, pedestrians would still have the right of way.

Yin said the policy would be announced as soon as the ministry had completed all the required legal formalities.

Chi Yun-ching (紀允晴), a senior department officer, said currently Taipei and several other areas in Taiwan already have bike lanes. With the amendment, the policy can be implemented nationwide.

The ministry also announced yesterday that motorists will soon be able to pay traffic fines by installment if they were unable to pay the penalty all in one payment. Motorists do not have to present any documents showing they have personal financial difficulties, and only need to verbally inform the authority of their reasons and intention to do so.

According to the ministry, the installments can be spread over no more than 12 months, and a payment of no less than NT$1,000 (US$31) has to be made every month. No interest will be charged.

If a payment is missed, motorists will be considered to have broken the contract and will be required to pay the balance of the penalty immediately.

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