Sun, Nov 04, 2007 - Page 2 News List

Reaction to motorbike rule mixed

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

Hundreds of motorcycle owners gathered in Anping (安平) in Tainan City yesterday to celebrate the lifting of a decades-old ban on motorcycles over 550cc using lanes designated for cars.

The motorcycle tour kicked off with more than 500 heavy-duty bikes roaring from Taipei on their way to Tainan. Hundreds of other motorcyclists from various parts of the country joined them on the way.

"It's great. We've been waiting for this moment for decades," a high-spirited female motorcyclist was quoted by cable news network TVBS as saying.

By law, large-size motorcycles are defined as those equipped with a cylinder capacity of 550 or above.

Besides the right to drive on expressway, heavy-duty bike owners can turn left directly without having to pull over first to the right on an intersection to wait for the green light. They can also park in spaces reserved for sedans.

However, the policy allowing large-size motorcycles to operate on expressways nationwide, which took effect on Thursday, was not welcome news to some.

Karen Tseng (曾惠璿), a homemaker from Hsinchu, said that when she heard about the decision to open expressways to large-size motorcycles, her first reaction was to blame Minister of Transportation and Communications Tsai Duei (蔡堆).

"The traffic is only going to get worse with all these motorcycles on the road," she said.

Tseng was also against allowing heavy-duty motorbikes to use parking spaces for cars since it was already difficult for car owners to find parking spaces.

Joanna Hsu (徐雅菁), a graduate student at Ming Chuan University, said motorcycle owners should pay parking fees in proportion to the space they occupy.

"If owners of large-size motorcycles were required to park in spaces designed for scooters, their motorcycles would not fit in and would take up two to three spaces for scooters instead," she said.

Hsu also expressed concern that some large-size motorcycle owners might think they could enjoy the privileges of both scooter and car owners.

For example, some large bike owners are likely to continue weaving their way through the traffic like scooters do, or may choose to stop at designated areas for smaller bikes while waiting for the light to turn green, she said.

Chen Li-yun (陳豊運), spokesman for more than 68 bike dealerships across the nation, told the Taipei Times that an estimate 8,000 motorcycles showed up for the event.

He said he had heard complaints from other motorists.

He said one woman called and complained that she was so intimidated by so many large motorcycles on the road that she hit a rail on the side.

Residents living close to Taipei's Huanhe Expressway (環河快速道路) have also complained that they cannot sleep at night because of the noise from these large motorcycles, Chen said.

Owners of large motorcycles must learn to respect other motorists on the road and to exercise self-discipline.

"In the next six months, everything we [motorcyclists] do is going to be examined through a magnifying glass," he said.

"Everyone must be constantly reminded of his responsibility and follow the code of ethics for drivers," Chen said.

"If the Ministry of Transportation and Communications decides to take back our right, we will not have any ground to appeal if we continue to behave badly," he said.

Additional reporting by DPA

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