The number of people killed in traffic accidents involving large motorcycles increased last year to about the same levels as 2011, data released last week by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications showed.
Large motorcycles are permitted on regular roads, provincial highways and expressways, but not on national freeways.
People who ride large motorcycles had requested that they be granted partial access to national freeways by July, or they would ignore the ban and ride on freeways on Father’s Day on Aug. 8.
However, the figures might cause the government to have second thoughts about opening freeways to motorcycles with engine sizes of 250cc or more. According to the statistics, 36 large motorcycle riders killed and 1,739 were injured in traffic accidents last year. All of the 36 killed were males.
Fourteen people were killed in accidents caused by speeding and failing to notice changes in road conditions, the data showed.
Other causes were failing to observe the speed limit or obey traffic signs, violating the rules on overtake other vehicles, riding into oncoming traffic, failing to slow down when riding through pedestrian crossings and failing to maintain a safe following distance, according to the statistics.
The figures further showed that more than half of the fatal accidents caused by large motorcycles happened on city roads, followed by those occurring on provincial highways.
Most of the accidents happened in New Taipei City and Taoyuan, the data showed.
An average of 42.7 people died for every 100,000 large motorcycles in the nation in 2011, when bans for riding large motorcycles on expressways was lifted, the data showed.
While the average fell to 19 in 2012 and to 17.7 in 2013, it increased to 23.9 in 2014 and to 40.4 last year, the data showed.
The ministry said the increase in the number of death of people who ride large bikes might be related to a rapid increase in the number of large motorcycles in the nation.
However, the main issue is that while riders of large motorcycles are supposed to observe the traffic rules imposed on small car drivers, some motorcyclists do not observe the rules, the ministry said.
The ministry said that large motorcycles are not supposed to use the same lane as cars.
However, people can see large motorcycles swerving in and out of traffic to get ahead, it said, adding that speeding is another common problem among riders of large motorcycls.
A survey conducted by the National Freeway Bureau showed that 60 percent of respondents opposed a trial allowing motorcycles on freeways.
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