• Directory of Taiwan

Transport minister outlines plan to lift Taiwan from 'pedestrian hell'

Cleaning up footpaths, more fines, more policing, among others

Scooters obstructing pedestrian access on a footpath in Taiwan is a common site.

Scooters obstructing pedestrian access on a footpath in Taiwan is a common site. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Minister of Transportation and Communications Wang Kwo-tsai (王國材) has outlined measures he believes will release Taiwan from its pedestrian hell.

Wang told reporters today that removing obstacles from footpaths, clamping down on drivers endangering pedestrians, subsidies for footpath improvements, building better roads around schools will help improve Taiwan’s pedestrian environment, per UDN.

Wang said that he will work with the road safety association to strengthen the removal of obstacles from footpaths, and encouraged the public to work together with the government to ensure footpaths are obstacle free. He also said that an evaluation of footpath obstructions will be carried out annually.

Police will also be clamping down on poor driving behavior that endangers pedestrians, accompanied by a government information campaign to increase awareness of the issue. On Thursday prosecutors indicted a bus driver who killed two and injured another after he struck them while crossing the road in a grim example of Taiwan’s road safety record.

With regard to illegal parking endangering pedestrians, Wang said that in the past the number of violations reported to the police was too high for the police to cope with, per CNA. He said that while the police will still be dealing with this issue, there will be additional reviews into the matter.

Wang also said that there are more than 400 schools with poor pedestrian facilities that need to be remedied. He said that this would be done in cooperation with county and city governments, along with police.

Fines for motorists failing to yield to pedestrians at zebra crossings were raised by 80% in late January, from NT$2,000 to NT$3,600 (US$120). The Ministry of Transportation said that the higher fines should lead to better behavior on the road.

One road safety advocate, Lin Chih-hsueh (林志學), disagrees that fines and punishments for poor road user behavior will be effective, saying that "the focus should be on designing better road infrastructure and enhancing drivers' education."