Fri, Mar 26, 2010 - Page 2 News List

Most bicyclists go without helmets

POLL RESULTS A MOTC survey discovered widespread support for laws to require bicyclists to wear helmets. The ministry also released its traffic plan for this weekend

By Shelley Shan  /  STAFF REPORTER

A woman and her pillion passenger ride through the streets of Taipei yesterday. A Ministry of Transportation and Communications survey found that almost 70 percent of people do not wear safety helmets when riding their bicycles.

PHOTO: CNA

A survey from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) showed yesterday that 70 percent of the respondents said they do not wear helmets when riding a bicycle.

However, the survey also showed that about 70 percent of the respondents said the government should create laws requiring bicycle riders to wear helmets.

The ministry began conducting the survey last November to better understand the use of bicycles nationwide. It was the ministry’s first national survey on bike use.

The survey was completed on Monday with 9,236 respondents aged 12 and over. The results were analyzed at a confidence level of 95 percent, with a margin of error of plus or minus 1 percent.

The survey found that 51 percent of the respondents have ridden bicycles within the past six months. Among them, about 27 percent said they ride bicycles every day. Based on that percentage, the ministry estimated that the nation has a biking population of about 10.3 million.

Approximately 60 percent said they ride bicycles for pleasure or recreation purposes. Only 12.5 percent reported they commute by bicycle.

Among those commuting by bike, 42 percent reported they started doing so two years ago. The ministry said this may reflect cycling’s recent popularity in Taiwan.

In other news, the ministry yesterday finalized its plan to facilitate home-bound traffic over the Tomb Sweeping Day holiday. The National Freeway Bureau decided that toll-free hours for both northbound and southbound freeway lanes will be between 12am and 7am this weekend, as well as from April 3 to April 5.

Some travelers are expected to return home a week early to avoid traffic. Both the Taiwan Railway Administration and the Taiwan High Speed Rail Corp have increased train services between April 2 and April 6.

Domestic airlines have also raised the number of flights departing for Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu.

The Civil Aeronautics Administration has also prepared for increased flights and ships and even asked for the assistance of military ships and freighters in case flights are halted or delayed by thick fog.

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