More than 1,000 owners of large motorcycles vowed to hit the streets on Wednesday to protest against regulations barring them from riding on freeways.
The legislature passed an amendment to Article 92 of the Act Governing the Punishment of Violation of Road Traffic Regulations (道路交通管理處罰條例) earlier this year to conditionally allow drivers of large motorcycles — those with engines of 550cc and above — access to national freeways.
However, they can only ride on certain freeway sections and during specific periods set by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications. The amendment took effect on July 1.
Despite the amendment’s provisions, large-size bike owners still cannot ride on freeways because local governments have refused to open freeway sections for them. An opinion poll by the ministry also showed that a majority of the public do not support the enforcement of the bill.
Former Large Motorcycles Management Association chairperson Chen Li-yun (陳豊運) said the ministry’s argument showed its contempt for the legislature and its intention to pass the buck to the local governments.
It was also discriminatory to owners of large motorbikes, Chen said.
“We have the same legal status as small passenger-car drivers and should have the same rights and responsibilities,” Chen said. “We just want the ministry to tell us where and when we can ride our motorcycles so as to run a trial of the new policy. How can it evaluate the viability of the policy if we are barred from going on freeways by local governments? We want dignity, not discrimination.”
Chen said more than 1,000 large bike riders would take to the streets on Wednesday and petition the legislature and the ministry.
In addition to properly designating freeway sections where large motorcycles are allowed to drive, Chen said the bikers also wanted to be exempt from having to install license plates on the front of their bikes.
If the ministry failed to take action by the end of the year, Chen said they would take that to mean that all national freeways are open to large motorcycles. They would start riding on the freeways on Jan. 1 next year, he said.
In response, the ministry said the amendment authorized it to evaluate and designate which sections can be opened to large-size motorcycles. However, local governments, bus operators as well as the public have all expressed opposition to the policy’s enforcement.
Nonetheless, the ministry said that it would continue evaluating the possibility of enforcing the policy.