33 riders slapped with fines on first day of cycling crackdown

Nearly three dozen cyclists were fined for riding their bikes illegally on the sidewalk yesterday

Cyclist receiving a ticket. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- On Monday, the first day that Taipei's new cycling crackdown went into effect, 33 cyclists were slapped with fines while 88 were issued warnings for riding their bikes on sidewalks illegally.

The new law penalizes those bike riders who are caught cycling on sidewalks and arcades (騎樓, covered sidewalks) outside of bike lane markings with a fine of between NT$300 (US$10) and NT$600. If a sidewalk does not have a designated bike lane, cyclists must now ride in the slow lane of the street. 

Traffic police will primarily be enforcing the new measure on Xinyi Road, Ren'ai Road, Xinsheng South Road and Roosevelt Road, where the network of bike lines have been completed. The Department of Transportation (DOT) said that the enforcement of this law will be expanded over time as more bike lines are added to more roads. 

The DOT said the new measures were devised to promote cycling etiquette as Taipei's residents have increasingly turned toward the use of YouBikes, oBikes, and privately owned bicycles in recent years. Bicycles are now used for 5.1% of journeys in Taipei, according to data from the DOT. 

In addition to not cycling on arcades or non-designed bike lanes on the sidewalk, when riding on sidewalks, cyclists should yield to pedestrians and riders should walk their bicycles when encountering arcades to respect pedestrians and establish a concept of friendly riding, said the DOT. 

Also, beginning on January 1 of next year, bicycles which have been parked illegally will be towed away. 

Meanwhile, there has been no mention of new campaigns to enforce traffic laws on Taiwan's massive fleet of 13.66 million smog-belching scooters, other than a possible ban on two-stroke motorbikes by 2020.