Sun, Aug 12, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Bikers call for speedier rule changes

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Bikers gather at a demonstration at Guandu Temple in Taipei yesterday to demand that the government open expressways to large-engine motorcycles.

PHOTO: CNA

Owners of large-engine motorcycles took their complaints to the streets again yesterday, in spite of the fact that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced this week that their motorbikes can be operated on expressways starting in November.

Following a demonstration in April, the ministry said motorists would be permitted to operate large-engine motorcycles on expressways as soon as this month.

The ministry later announced that the policy would not take effect until near the end of the year.

The announcement has upset motorcycle enthusiasts, who said they would take to the expressways on their bikes before November despite the ongoing ban.

More than 1,000 motorists gathered in the Guandu Temple parking lot in Taipei yesterday morning to show their frustration with what they called slow progress in amending the Road Traffic Management and Punishment Law (道路交通管理處罰條例).

Yesterday's event drew the attention of the Directorate-General of Highways, as well as the National Police Administration (NPA). Both dispatched representatives to meet the protesters and discuss their grievances.

Deputy Director-General of the Directorate-General of Highways Chen Chun-hsiung (陳俊雄) said that motorcycles with a cylinder capacity of 550 cubic centimeters or larger could be operated on expressways starting November. The office reserved the right for local governments to ban large-engine motorcycles from operating on sections of expressways where there are safety concerns.

Ho Kuo-rong (何國榮), an NPA representative, also reminded motorists that traffic laws regulating sedans would also apply to large-engine motorcycles on regular roads. Bikers may turn left directly on regular roads, without having to first pull over to the right on the intersecting road to wait for a green light.

In addition, license plates must be mounted on the front and back of motorcycles to make them more easily visible for police.

As many motorcyclists have complained about the difficulty of mounting a license plate on the front of a motorcycle, Ho said that the administration would let motorists make their own license plates. Motorists may use either soft or hard materials and the license plate numbers may be written either horizontally or vertically. The license plate must be 18cm long and 8cm wide.

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