Having lived in Copenhagen before coming to Taiwan, I want to add to a recent article with suggestions on how to make cycling more attractive in Taiwan’s cities (“Copenhagen’s cycle paths become highways,” Nov. 30, page 6).
There have been efforts to increase the number of cyclists in Taiwan, but they have often not been very successful because they have lacked the comprehensive and systematic approach that Copenhagen has taken (“Lane a testament to incompetence,” March 26, page 8).
The three essentials that are crucial for any strategy to get people out of cars and onto bicycles are: Cycling has to be comfortable and safe; it has to be supported by a parking and repair infrastructure; and it needs to be part of a wider push for increased public transport.
To make cycling comfortable and safe it is essential that a significant amount of space is given to raised cycle paths that cannot be used by cars or scooters. Car and scooter use, meanwhile, will only decrease with more investments into affordable public transport that reaches all parts of the city at all times of the day.
Copenhagen also reduced car lanes and parking spaces, which is one of the most effective ways of pushing cars out of cities.
Second, there needs to be a sufficient number of safe parking spaces for bicycles everywhere. It is also essential to have repair shops and pit stops that tend to bicycle upkeep and the cyclists’ comfort.
Finally, these bicycle-specific measures have to be part and parcel of a comprehensive public transport strategy because most potential cyclists, myself included, will not switch to using bicycles unless the danger and pollution from private cars and scooters is significantly reduced, which includes ensuring that car drivers respect traffic laws, that public transport replaces most private means of transportation and that the remaining private traffic becomes electric.
All these things are ongoing in Copenhagen, where, as a cyclist, I never felt bothered by pollution and I always felt safe, as I knew that car drivers took care simply because they were used to the presence of cyclists.
By contrast, I rarely ever cycle in Taipei because it is just too uncomfortable and dangerous. This is a shame because I really miss the exercise and the freedom and speed of movement it afforded me in Copenhagen.
Copenhagen is achieving systematic change, where a car-dominated system is now being replaced by a public-transport system. The most important lesson is that all elements have to be implemented together because people will not make the switch to public transport as long as cars and scooters achieve the primary goal — getting from A to B — more effectively than the public transport alternatives.
Once public transport achieves this primary objective more cheaply, efficiently and safely, people will happily make the switch in large numbers, with great benefits to the urban environment, public health, and energy efficiency.
Piecemeal solutions will not be successful — see the Dunhua cycle lane disaster — but comprehensive, smart solutions will — note the case of Copenhagen.
With its passing of Hong Kong’s new National Security Law, the People’s Republic of China (PRC) continues to tighten its noose on Hong Kong. Gone is the broken 1997 promise that Hong Kong would have free, democratic elections by 2017. Gone also is any semblance that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) plays the long game. All the CCP had to do was hold the fort until 2047, when the “one country, two systems” framework would end and Hong Kong would rejoin the “motherland.” It would be a “demonstration-free” event. Instead, with the seemingly benevolent velvet glove off, the CCP has revealed its true iron
At the end of last month, Paraguayan Ambassador to Taiwan Marcial Bobadilla Guillen told a group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislators that his president had decided to maintain diplomatic ties with Taiwan, despite pressure from the Chinese government and local businesses who would like to see a switch to Beijing. This followed the Paraguayan Senate earlier this year voting against a proposal to establish ties with China in exchange for medical supplies. This constituted a double rebuke of the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) diplomatic agenda in a six-month span from Taiwan’s only diplomatic ally in South America. Last year, Tuvalu rejected an
South China Sea exercises in July by two United States Navy nuclear-powered aircraft carriers reminds that Taiwan’s history since mid-1950, and as a free nation, is intertwined with that of the aircraft carrier. Eventually Taiwan will host aircraft carriers, either those built under its democratic government or those imposed on its territory by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN). By September 1944, a lack of sufficient carrier airpower and land-based airpower persuaded US Army and Navy leaders to forgo an invasion to wrest Taiwan from Japanese control, thereby sparing Taiwanese considerable wartime destruction. But two
As Taiwan is engulfed in worries about Chinese infiltration, news reports have revealed that power inverters made by China’s Huawei Technologies Co are used in the solar panels on the top of the Legislative Yuan’s Zhenjiang House (鎮江會館) on Zhenjiang Street in Taipei. However, what is even more worrying is that Taiwan’s new national electronic identification card (eID) has been subcontracted to the French security firm and eID maker Idemia, which has not only cooperated with the Chinese Public Security Bureau to manufacture eIDs in China, but also makes the new identification cards being issued in Hong Kong. There might be more