The Control Yuan has asked the Ministry of Transportation and Communications to devise methods to reduce bicycle traffic accidents and injuries, as more than 50,000 bicycle accidents have occurred in the past six years.
Control Yuan members Lin Ya-feng (林雅鋒), Yin Tso-chien (尹祚芊) and Yang Mei-ling (楊美鈴) have submitted a report, which found that “improper bicycle riding behavior accounted for more than 50 percent of bicycle accidents,” and “failing to yield the right of way and improper turning” were the main causes.
The ministry in July 2012 published white papers on “green transportation,” in which increasing the passenger volume of public transportation and improving the walking and cycling commuting environment were two main strategies, the report said.
Promoting bicycle-sharing systems was a pilot benchmark program for the government to promote green transportation and has achieved good results, but many problems have yet to be solved, it said.
The cumulative passenger volumes of bicycle-sharing systems are the highest in Taipei and New Taipei City, but the stationless oBike sharing system caused many problems, mainly associated with illegal parking and random disposal, which are not solved yet, it added.
The role of and demand for bicycles in urban transportation systems are still uncertain, and the development of urban bike networks is limited by insufficient road space, they said, adding that comprehensive planning and development are needed.
From 2012 to last year, there were 53,763 bicycle accidents — including fatal traffic accidents and injury-only traffic accidents — with figures increasing each year, the report said.
The five leading causes of bicycle accidents were failing to yield and improper turning, traffic signal violations, road sign offenses, driving the wrong way and crossing the street carelessly, and accounted for 50.57 percent of the fatal and injury-only accidents.
Many of the accidents occurred due to improper bicycle riding behavior and riders’ lack of road safety knowledge, government statistics showed.
In fatal as well as non-fatal traffic accidents, minors accounted for 31.64 percent, people aged 65 years or older accounted for 25.83 percent and people aged 18 to 24 accounted for 7.88 percent, the data showed.
Students and young riders under 24 accounted for 39.52 percent of the accidents, the Control Yuan members said, suggesting that they improve their knowledge of traffic safety and regulations.
Although the ministry has amended regulations on managing slow-moving vehicles, the data does not include second parties, which might lead to incomprehensive solutions for improving road safety, they said.
They asked the ministry to cooperate with the National Police Agency and the Ministry of Health and Welfare to devise ways to avoid bicycle accidents and conflicts, as well as improve passengers’ road safety rights.
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