Sat, Aug 11, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Ministry plans to make cyclists put on helmets

STAFF WRITER , WITH CNA

In light of the growing number of traffic fatalities involving bicycles, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is planning to amend a road law to require that cyclists wear helmets or face fines.

In a meeting presided over by Minister Tsai Duei (蔡堆), officials from the ministry's Road Safety Supervisory Committee said that fatalities resulting from traffic accidents involving bicycles have been high in recent years, adding that most fatalities were caused by head injuries.

This has prompted researchers from the ministry's Institute of Transportation to propose an amendment to the road safety law to require that cyclists wear safety helmets, the officials said.

In addition, the amendment would require that left turns be conducted in two steps by cyclists riding on roads, that cyclists ride within 1m of the edge of the road, and that bicycle makers be required to install lights and reflecting panels on new bicycles, the officials said.

Ministry officials quoted tallies compiled by the National Police Administration indicating that between 2003 and last year, traffic accidents involving bicycles resulted in 664 deaths and 7,131 injuries. Of the 664 killed, 483 -- or 72 percent -- died after being hit by a vehicle and falling.

Last year alone, 183 cyclists died in traffic accidents, with 118 of the deceased having died of head injuries, the officials said.

Researchers from the ministry's Institute of Transportation are expected to present a draft amendment to the road safety law by the end of this year with stricter safety regulations for cyclists, including the required wearing of helmets.

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