Tue, Jul 04, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Task force to evaluate motorcyclists’ behavior

SLOW RIDER:Motorcyclists would be allowed to ride on freeways as early as October next year if they are found to commit no more violations than passenger vehicles

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff reporter

An ad hoc task force is to be formed to monitor and evaluate the behaviors of riders of heavy motorcycles for one year, with the results to be used to determine whether they would be allowed to ride on national freeways, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) said yesterday.

The announcement came after the ministry convened a meeting yesterday morning to discuss the possibility of opening all freeways to motorcyclists riding bikes with engine volumes larger than 550cc.

Officials from government agencies, transportation experts, representatives from motorbike rights groups and bus and cargo transport association representatives were invited to attend the meeting.

People riding heavy motorcycles are only allowed to ride on expressways and National Freeway No. 3A, despite an amendment to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例) in 2010 that allowed them to ride on freeways at sections and time periods determined by the MOTC.

Although heavy motorcycle riders have for years been asserting they have the right to access all freeways, the ministry has rejected their petitions, citing objections from the public and local governments.

Yesterday’s meeting came after thousands of motorcyclists held a rally on Saturday calling for the ban to be lifted and for the ministry’s evaluation period for heavy motorcycle riders to be halved from a year to six months.

Participants reached a consensus on several matters, Department of Railways and Highways section head Michael Tsao (趙晉緯) said.

The National Freeway Bureau should quickly form an ad hoc team to evaluate the riders’ behavior, he said, adding that members of the team should include independent transportation experts, road authorities and representatives from different organizations representing the rights of different types of road users.

Second, members of the team should discuss the standards whereby riders are to be evaluated, Tsao said, including the number of fatal accidents caused by the riders and the number of traffic law violations and illegal acts committed by motorcyclists as reported by the police.

The illegal acts include frequently swerving in and out of traffic, overtaking other vehicles or changing lanes without following proper procedures, riding beside another vehicle in the same lane, riding on the freeway shoulders, failing to follow traffic signs or signals and failing to keep a safe distance.

The team could also add more standards to its evaluation, he said.

The team would monitor the riders from the surveillance cameras installed along Freeway No. 3A and Highway No. 64 from this month until June 30 next year, Tsao said.

Results of the team’s evaluations are to be reviewed every four months, he said, adding that they would be compared with those of small passenger vehicle drivers.

The ministry is supposed to represent public interests, MOTC Deputy Minister Chi Wen-chung (祈文中) said, adding that the observation period is needed to collect objective data.

If the riders meet the standards set for them and prove that they do not commit more traffic law violations than small passenger vehicle drivers, the National Freeway Bureau could then choose the freeway sections on which it would allow the motorcyclists to ride, Chi said.

The choice of freeway sections would only include those with low traffic volume, low diversity of vehicles and expectedly fewer heavy motorcycles, he said, adding that they would be permitted to ride on the freeways in October next year if everything proceeds smoothly.

Comments will be moderated. Keep comments relevant to the article. Remarks containing abusive and obscene language, personal attacks of any kind or promotion will be removed and the user banned. Final decision will be at the discretion of the Taipei Times.

TOP top