Tighter rules are set to be implemented for Taipei’s public bicycle system from Jan 1. to protect riders and pedestrians, and prevent abuse of the system.
Taipei’s Department of Transportation, the operator of the YouBike network, said yesterday that riders who do not follow traffic regulations will be subject to warnings, and in extreme circumstances could have their memberships suspended or even terminated.
Warnings will be given for YouBike members caught running red lights, carrying a passenger in any way, riding in lanes that do not permit bicycles or against the flow of traffic, and other offenses.
Accumulating three warnings will result in a two-week suspension of YouBike membership — and thereby the right to use the system — while five warnings will result in a two-month suspension.
Memberships will be terminated upon seven warnings or immediately upon a single severe traffic violation, including intentionally renting a bike for an excessively long period of time, riding drunk, damaging a YouBike or causing harm to others through dangerous behavior.
The city government encouraged citizens to report violations by taking pictures and noting the number of YouBikes being misused.
The stricter rules are intended to promote a better biking culture, the department said.
Some riders have tested the limits of the YouBike system since it was launched in 2009.
In June of this year, an intrepid cyclist took a YouBike on a 250km journey up to Greater Taichung’s Wuling (武陵), a mountainous area that reaches 3,275m above sea level.
Following the incident, YouBike’s pricing scheme was adjusted to charge progressively more after each period of several hours.
In September, a YouBike was spotted in Hsinchu, about 70km from Taipei, and on Thursday another was stolen and subsequently found in Taoyuan, about 26km from Taipei.
The YouBike system catered to about 9 million riders in the first 11 months of this year.