Wed, May 18, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Legislators to join public hearing on electric bikes

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

Lawmakers are to hear from the public tomorrow on how the government should regulate the use of electric bicycles after the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said it would toughen up regulations amid an increase in accidents and breaches involving the vehicles.

To distinguish electric bicycles from lightweight motorcycles, riders of the former will have to display a new certification label that is 25 times larger than the one currently used, with the rule scheduled to take effect on July 1, the ministry said.

The ministry has also proposed an amendment to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例) in which electric bicycles are to be classed as a lightweight scooter.

Electric bicycle riders would be required to pass written and driving tests to obtain a license. They would have to wear a helmet and would not be allowed to ride on sidewalks.

Manufacturers of electric bicycles must guarantee that the vehicles they produce have mechanisms preventing retailers or riders from ratcheting up the maximum speed of the vehicle, which is capped at 25kph.

Department of Railways and Highways Deputy Director-General Wang Mu-han (王穆衡) said that the department wants to hear what the manufacturers of electric bicycles have to say about the proposed rule changes.

“The electric bicycle was an emerging industry and some were concerned that the industry might not be able to develop if regulations were too strict. As such, they were treated as regular bicycles,” Wang said. “However, the industry has grown and public safety issues have arisen as many feared.

“We want to hear appeals from electric bicycle producers, particularly small manufacturers who might be affected by these regulatory measures,” he said.

Wang said that lawmakers in general do not have a problem with the ministry’s proposal requiring electric bicycle riders to carry certification labels on the back of their vehicles.

However, lawmakers might not necessarily agree that electric bicycle riders would need to have a license to operate the vehicles, he said.

Also to be discussed at hearing is a proposed amendment to Article 69 of the act, which was introduced by Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Hsu Shu-hua (許淑華) and 17 other lawmakers.

The proposal seeks to extend the act to include slow-moving vehicles with three wheels or more that are primarily pedal-powered with electricity-powered assistance and have a maximum speed of 25kph and a maximum weight of 40kg.

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