Sat, Mar 10, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Taipei to begin fining errant cyclists from September

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

Cyclists in Taipei City will need to pay more attention to traffic rules starting soon, as Taipei City Government announced yesterday that it will begin fining cyclists who violate traffic regulations starting in September.

As the number of bicycle-related traffic accidents increases each year, Taipei City Department of Transportation yesterday said it would begin to fine reckless riders and asked cyclists not to violate regulations starting from April before beginning to penalize serious offenders starting in September, including running red lights and riding in inside lanes.

The fines will range from NT$300 (US$9) to NT$600, the department said.

Like all vehicle drivers, cyclists must obey the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road Traffic Regulations (道路交通管理處罰條例). They should be fined if they break the rules, said Chang Chin-an (張金安), deputy traffic division chief of the department, yesterday during a transportation meeting at Taipei City Hall.

"We will put all our efforts into promoting the new policy before enforcing the regulations, as being fined for violating traffic rules will be a new concept for most bicycle riders," Chang said.

According to statistics from the department, 885 people were injured in bicycle-related accidents last year, and the top causes of accidents included failing to keep a safe driving distance or running red lights.

With more than 45 percent of injured riders suffering head injuries, the department is also planning to make wearing helmets compulsory.

In order to decrease the number of bicycle-related accidents, the department also announced it would ban bicycles from four underpasses around the city starting next month. The underpasses are the Taipei Songshan Airport underpass, Linsen S. Road underpass, Keelung Road underpass and Xinyi Road underpass.

Bicycle riders would be banned from the four underpasses because of the roads' steep inclines and heavy traffic.

While agreeing that penalizing bicycle riders for serious infringements was "right and proper," Taipei Mayor Hau Lung-bin (郝龍斌) demanded the department put greater effort in promoting the policy and refrain from fining cyclists unless it was absolutely necessary.

"A bicycle is an environmentally-friendly transportation tool and we should encourage the public to ride bicycles, we should not frustrate bicycle riders with the new policy," Hau said.

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