From July 1, people must wear helmets when they ride electric bicycles, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications said on Tuesday.
Department of Railways and Highways regulations stipulate the top speed of an electric bicycle should not exceed 25kph.
However, some retailers have reportedly breached the rules, increasing the power of the electric vehicles, with some of them modified to reach top speeds of 30kph to 40kph.
The nation has approximately 180,000 certified electric bicycles. Riders do not need a license and do not have to wear helmets.
Statistics from the National Police Agency showed that 2,464 traffic accidents between 2012 and September last year were caused by electric bicycles, with eight people killed and 3,490 injured.
In view of the casualties, the ministry said it has amended the Road Traffic Safety Rules (道路交通安全規則) to require electric bicycle riders to wear helmets.
Department of Railways and Highways section head Michael Tsao (趙晉緯) said the department has yet to stipulate fines for people who are caught not wearing a helmet.
Fines are likely to fall in the range of between NT$300 and NT$600, the same as for cyclists who breach traffic rules, Tsao said.
Electric bicycle owners are also to be required to attach a sticker issued by the Vehicle Safety Certification Center to the back of their bicycle, which will indicate that they are riding an electric vehicle.
“We have received complaints from people over why some people can ride motorcycles without a helmet,” Tsao said.
“The fact is, they are actually riding electric bicycles. However, it is difficult for people to tell the difference between an electric bicycle and an electric motorcycle, because they can look similar,” he said.
Tsao said that people who do not display a sticker issued by the center would face a fine of between NT$1,200 and NT$3,600 from July 1.
Those riding uncertified electric bicycles would face a penalty of NT$3,600 to NT$10,800, he said.
In addition, electric bicycles must be equipped with mechanisms to help prevent riders from increasing the vehicle’s top speed to more than 25kph, he said.
To help people further distinguish between electric motorcycles and electric bicycles, regulations for the body of electric bicycles is to reduce the maximums of 2.5m in length, 1m in width and 2m in height to 1.75m in length, 0.75m in width and 1.15m in height. The policy is to take effect on Jan. 1 next year, he added.
In 2020, regulations for electric bicycle dimensions are to be reduced further to 1.7m in length, 0.7m in width and 1.10m in height.
In related developments, motorcyclists whose scooters do not have sufficient tire tread depth are to have their license plate suspended until the issue is rectified, Tsao said, adding that the policy is to take effect on July 1.
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