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New e-bike helmet law, fine for failing to signal to hit streets in Taiwan Oct. 1

Not wearing helmet on e-bike, not signaling, blocking zebra crossing among 15 new traffic violations

Wrecked e-bike. (Hemei Township Police photo)

Wrecked e-bike. (Hemei Township Police photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Not wearing a helmet while riding an e-bike, failing to signal, and blocking a zebra crossing are among 15 new traffic violations to hit the streets in Taiwan in October.

Starting on Oct. 1, 15 new traffic regulations will come into force Taiwan, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications announced on Thursday (Sept. 26). Among the more noteworthy new laws, a fine of NT$300 (US$9.60) will be imposed on those riding an e-bike without a helmet, the fine for failing to signal when changing lanes or turning will increase dramatically, and those obstructing a zebra crossing will face a stiff penalty.

As the popularity of electric bicycles, or e-bikes, increases in Taiwan, so do the accident rate and related injuries. In addition, some riders have modified their vehicles to exceed their original speed of 25 kilometers per hour by as much as double.

In order to safeguard people's lives and maintain order on the roads, the Legislative Yuan's Transportation Committee in April proposed amending the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act (道路交通管理處罰條例) to impose fines on riders caught riding an e-bike sans helmet, speeding, or illegally modifying their bikes to increase their maximum speed, reported CNA. The amendment was approved by the Legislative Yuan in May.

In recent years, e-bikes have become widely used among foreign migrant workers because they are cheap and easy to repair, reported UDN. They have also become popular among tourists and high school students, as they do not require owner registration or a driver's license to operate.

New e-bike helmet law, fine for failing to signal to hit streets in Taiwan Oct. 1
Scene of accident in Hsinchu where Vietnamese migrant worker was killed riding e-bike. (CNA photo)

Under the new regulations, if a person drives an e-bike over 25 kph, they could face a fine of between NT$900 and NT$1,800. If an e-bike rider fails to wear a helmet, they risk a fine of NT$300, and if they refit the vehicles without authorization, they can be slapped with a fine of NT$1,800 to NT$5,400.

The speed limit for narrow lanes with no lane lines, traffic lanes, or direction restrictions will be lowered from 40 kilometers per hour (kph) to 30 kph. If a driver fails to signal before making a turn or changing lanes, the fine will be increased from an NT$900 to NT$1,200 range to a range of NT$1,200 to NT$3,600.

Those found obstructing traffic by stacking objects on a zebra crossing could face a fine of between NT$3,000 and NT$6,000. If the behavior results in injury or death, the penalty will be doubled.

If a person with a visual impairment is affected by a blocked zebra crossing, the fine will be increased to between NT$2,400 and NT$7,200. Riding a bicycle or other slow vehicle without allowing visually impaired people to pass will also lead to an increased penalty.

In addition, if guards or security personnel of apartment buildings obstruct traffic on roads they will face fines of between NT$1,200 and NT$2,400. Those found to be blocking a zebra crossing could be subject to fines of between NT$3,000 and NT$6,000.

Those holding competitions, banquets, plays, or film productions without permission will also face fines of between NT$3,000 and NT$6,000. According to regulations, only traffic service police, officers authorized by the law, and designated school traffic guards can block traffic on roads and zebra crossings.

Because banks will no longer cover the transaction fees of fines paid by credit card, ticket holders will be subject to a transaction fee based on the size of the fine. For example, if the fine is between NT$1 and NT$998, the handling fee is NT$2; at the upper end, if the fine is over NT$99,981, the handling fee is NT$35.