Some drivers in Taiwan ignore the signs that indicate bike lanes, which can create a dangerous situation for cyclists. As Taitung in southeastern Taiwan prepares to receive more visitors this summer, it hopes to alleviate the problem and make the roads safer for cyclists.
The Taitung County Police Bureau said on May 30 that it will begin cracking down on cars and motorbikes that park and drive in bike lanes around the county, the Central News Agency reported. In particular, the police will monitor high traffic areas, such as around the Taitung Railway Station and along Mahengheng Boulevard as these are more popular areas for cyclists, and the road runs along Taitung Forest Park and connects with the Hualien-Taitung Coastal Highway.
Authorities also noted that elderly residents tend to go out along Mahengheng Boulevard in the mornings and evenings, and vehicles in bike paths pose a risk to those people in the area. They also reminded cyclists, joggers, and walkers to wear reflective clothing in the early morning or evenings to ensure drivers can see them.
While the police may begin by issuing warnings to drivers for encroaching on the bike lanes, they may also issue fines of between NT$900 (US$28.50) and NT$1800 (US$57) per offense.
As Taitung is a popular destination for tourists, the county government hopes that providing safe bike paths will improve the region’s image as an active destination. There is a 21-km city loop bike path through Taitung in addition to other bike lanes in the county. There is also a bike lane along Hualien-Taitung Coastal Highway that provides views of the mountains and Pacific coast. There are various bike rental options around Taitung, but the popular YouBike bike-sharing system is not available in southern Taiwan.