Bikes, bike-sharing, and regulations.
Taiwan has always been a place where bicycles are a big deal. Recently there have been innovations in bike-sharing and related tech. Along with those innovations are new regulations and an effort by the government to support and facilitate more bikers in the city. The biggest and most visible of these innovations has been the Youbike. In almost every major city in Taiwan, you can find Youbikes docked at their stations, or see people riding them around. Due to the success of these bike-sharing initiatives and the growing public demand, local city governments have been putting in more bike lanes and building more bicycle-friendly infrastructure. Taipei City government has pledged to build 700 km of bike paths by 2030, with 500 km having already been completed. The sidewalks in many areas have been widened to about 3.5m to accommodate bikes and pedestrians.
Not only have there been structural developments for cyclists and bike-sharing, but changes have been made in regulations, too. Taipei City, for example, has now put new regulations in place to fine cyclists who are not in designated cycling areas. A NT$ 300 fine will be levied against violators. There are also new regulations against riding a bike while intoxicated, with a possible NT$ 600 fine for a 0.03 on the breathalyzer. The new regulations do not stop there. Taipei also put in place a fine of NT$ 100 for illegally parked bikes, and a NT$ 25 for every 12 hours the bike is stored on the impound lot. If the bikes aren’t claimed, they’ll be sold at public auction.
Not only will regulations be tightened for cyclists and bikes, authorities will be cracking down on bike-sharing programs, too. New Taipei City has issued a parking ban on the dockless bike-sharing bikes like Obike. Obike, the Singaporean company that has recently gotten into the bike-sharing space said it will appeal the decision to not allow their bike to park in scooter spaces and at bike parking areas near the MRT stations. Many in the online community were upset by the way Obike were invading their parking spaces, and protested Obikes that are often illegally parked.
Bikes are always a hot topic in Taiwan – whether it’s scooter riders up in arms about bikes in their spots, or cyclists complaining about scooter riders’ dangerous driving habits. There’s always a discussion to be had about bikes and their regulations.
Here is a video we made about how to use a Youbike.