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Round-the-island cyclists fined for using east Taiwan highway

Three cyclists were spotted inside tunnels on the improved Suhua Highway

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Three round-the-island cyclists were fined for using the Suhua Highway. (CNA, Yilan police photo) 

Three round-the-island cyclists were fined for using the Suhua Highway. (CNA, Yilan police photo) 

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Three cyclists traveling around Taiwan’s main island faced fines for passing through highway tunnels in Yilan County, reports said Saturday (Jan. 1).

The three were heading north on the improved Suhua Highway linking Hualien County with Su’ao in Yilan County at 9 a.m. when police were informed of their presence, CNA reported.

They passed through the Guanyin and Gufeng tunnels before police arrived one hour later to intercept them. They explained they were not familiar with local roads, which had caused them to take a wrong turn in Hualien County’s Heping Township and end up on the highway. The cyclists used a lane inside the tunnels reserved for emergency services.

Fines for cycling on a highway range from NT$300 (US$10.82) to NT$600 per person, police said, adding that the three cyclists in this case had been fined. They formed part of a group of more than 40 cyclists who were spending their eighth day on the road, but the others were intercepted and shown another route before they entered the highway, UDN reported.

It was the first time that bicycles had been spotted on the Suhua Highway, as before, only scooters and motorcycles had intruded on to the popular traffic route. The road has cut short the distance between the Taipei area in the north and Hualien County in the east, with traffic often heavy during holiday weekends.