Mon, Jun 19, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Motorcyclists to protest with ride on freeways

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

More than 1,500 people on July 1 are to ride their large motorcycles on national freeways to petition for their right to access the roads.

The Ministry of Transportation and Communications bans motorcycles with an engine volume of 550cc or larger from using the majority of freeways on the grounds that members of the public and local governments strongly oppose the measure.

Motorcyclists can only ride on the shoulder of Freeway No. 3A (Xinhai Road) and expressways.

The petitioners said that the Legislative Yuan has already passed legislation allowing people to ride large motorcycles on certain sections of the freeways.

A proposal from the ministry to allow large motorcycles to enter the Taichung Circular Line (Freeway No. 4) and the Tainan Branch Line (Freeway No. 8) is acceptable, but not its three proposed evaluation criteria to determine if it would continue the policy, Taiwan National Motorcycles Management Industry Advancement Association chairperson Hong Tsung-pao (洪宗寶) said.

The three criteria include the accident rate, the number of traffic law violations committed by motorcyclists and whether they frequently swerve in and out off traffic, Hong said.

The standards were formulated based on data gathered from motorcycles operating on regular roads, rather than on freeways, he said.

Hong also pointed to a presentation from the ministry, which showed that there were no deaths resulting from traffic accidents caused by large motorcycles on Freeway No. 3A and expressways.

The presentation also showed that the number of traffic violations committed by motorcyclists on Freeway No. 3A and expressways was only about one-eighth of that committed by large passenger vehicles.

More than 90 percent of traffic law infringements on freeways were committed by small passenger vehicles, proving that large motorcycles would not create any more danger, he said.

“How can the ministry use data collected from regular roads to determine if people can ride large motorcycles on freeways?” Hong said, adding that it would also have to monitor how they behave between next month and June next year before deciding if motorcyclists could continue driving on Freeway No. 4 and Freeway No. 8.

The ministry should immediately make the freeways accessible to large motorcycles, Hong said, adding that the association would only agree to postpone the launch of the policy for another six months.

The government should use the six months to the inform the public about the policy change, he said, adding that the association would also use this period to educate its members about the importance of abiding by the law.

The ministry can punish the motorcyclists or ask them to address the violations, but it should not take back their right to access freeways if they break the regulations and cause accidents, he said.

Motorcyclists joining the protest on July 1 can access freeways from any interchange at any time, provided that they do not speed, swerve in an out of traffic, ride beside another vehicle in the same lane, refuse police inspection or violate traffic regulations, the association said.

Association members should not act alone and should gather at Ketagalan Boulevard for a rally after their ride, it added.

Deputy Minister of Transportation and Communications Chi Wen-jong (祁文中) said that while he respects the association’s petition, he would remind motorcyclists that all people share the use of freeways.

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