Monday, November 30, 2009

No Helmet bike fines

Here we go, fines coming for bikers for no helmets... here

In many countries such as the Netherlands, bikers still think that helmets should be optional. But in Taiwan, no one has a say, the government dedides. End of story. Ok, So now bikers will not hurt their head or die, the death rate may go down but we will just shift the number to arm and leg injuries an mor people in the intensve care increasing the need for tax payers money and likely insurance costs. Does that fix the root cause?

But, the motos and cars speeding and cutting bikers on every corners and bus stop still go w/o mentioning. I was cut twice very hard by a bus and a txies in 15 minutes on the road yesterday, not mentioning the very irritating barking taxis behind me. Why not require car/bike speed limiters mandatory? Yes?

USA regulations here
Wikipedia here
Same facts about mandatory legilation here Note, the country with the most bicycle trips (The Netherlands) is stil UNDECIDED on mandatory legislation and most people object.

Taiwan... what are you thinking? Is the government doing their homework? Where is the supporting data bofore making a proposal? That would be helpful than just a one line posting on the news and press the community to buys helmets (a social cost) which likely will not help at all.

Right the statisic above are a bit old, but they could mean the more bikers on the road , the more awareness (critical mass), the less fatalities, but that is just an assumption There could be much more factors, such like the level of bike lane integration, road behavior , laws for mandatory lights on bikes etc.. (Yes, in the Netherlands bike lights are mandatory! The chance to get a fine is not low).

The Tun Hua Bike Lane (Again)

A discussion on the new bike lane. good or bad, here after the negative news about the lane that was posted hereby Taipei Times (yes, the Pro-DPP newspaper)

We're a few months now using these lanes. It's time for enforcement.

My personal view is that it took too long to build up the lane. I have seen painters paiting those yellow/black concrete blocks that seperate the bike lanes from the car lanes centimeter by centimeter like they had all the time in the world. Often there was no one working on some area's for days. The efficiency is really in doubt.

If I were the mayor, I would challenge the MOT to come out a process to build 500 meter of bike lane per day. For example, prefab some parts, cut the road, put in the blocks and add a fine layer of tar. It does not have to be car/bus proof.

Think out of the box, read the book "Blue Ocean Strategy" Change you mind! Citizens are the government customer's right? Not just tax suppliers.

If the Fu-Xing road can have a new pavement in a few weeks, then why a bike lane costs months? That said, no bike lanes on the new Fu-Xing road, and we don't need tfancy bike lanes with all kind of arrows, colors whichare too narrow, no one understands and everyone violates therefor. Make it simple. There are some parts on Fu-Xing S-road with just a line, Just color it different, add a bike sign every 100 meter and we're done!

To prevent card/bike on the bike lanes, why not elevate the lanes a bit? Once moto's and cars feel the bump, they may know, there are outside their area. Anyhow, just wild ideas.

And oh, yeah, I LOVE THE LANE! (and even better if no cars and motorcycles use it). I ride Tun-hua road every week and long before the lane was there and it's such a difference!, So how many of you paryy members ride the bike in the City Hung Chien-yi ? (洪健益, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City Councilor )

Friday, October 30, 2009

New proposed biking Traffic laws

News article Here Just another vague article. The same old story (SOS!)


1. The number of cycling deaths has declined from 183 people in 2006 to 141 people last year, the numbers of injured riders are still increasing,”

2. Last year, over nine thousand people were injured in biking accidents. In 2006, the number was about seven thousand

3. The reason for the accidents include riders not following traffic rules, vague traffic concept among teenagers and the lack of bikeways, forcing cyclists to compete for space in motor traffic.

MOTC's action plan:

1. MOTC called on the public to wear helmets while riding bikes, but has not set regulations for people who disobey this rule. Really? when and how? TV, newspaper, have not seen it... Just "calling"?

2. The government will discuss the issue about the punishment for people who don't wear helmets and whether teenagers should need a license for bicycling. Good idea, a license might be to agressive, but MOTC could provide training, bikes and educational material to all schools to get consistent education and make the class mandatory to complete. Just like many countries require swimming mandatory.

3. Requiring cyclists to have lights while riding at night. Fully supported, BUT MOTC should set standards for the bike light, not all bike light are the same, the bike light should shine in a particular angle and with minimum level of brightness. Side-view reflectors are also important. MOTC should sponsor bike light lights to sell at a very low price sold in bike stores for e.g. the 1st year, and set a target date. How about the high amount of batteries that are going to be used? use Dynamo's?

4. Prohibiting carrying passengers who are over four years old or 18 kilograms in weight. MOTC should make kid racks mandatory for carrying small kids and set safety standards for those racks. + sponsor low cost racks during the introduction period

5. banning youngsters under the age of 12 from riding on their own. Ok so over 4 years old cannot ride on their own until they are 12 years old. Well, ALL kids need to go to school in the 5-11 year range, and also agood time for education and learing to ride a bike correctly in traffic while in elementary school.

6. MOTC also appeals to elementary and junior high schools to further promote traffic safety to the students. Good, how is MOTC going to doing that? Appealing is an action-less word, see item 2

But surprisingly just for one item no action was stated: "lack of bikeways, forcing cyclists to compete for space in motor traffic". This is probably the most important issue for increased biking safety. There is a lot of construction work going on, Fu-Xing got a new pavement 2 weeks ago, but no bike lanes, will Hsin-Yi follow the same fate?

Assuming accidents occur in the city, the government is still only looking at recreational bike paths instead of improving the cities for daily bike commuting. (well that has been stated now a hundered times in this blog, it's almost boring..)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

What would you do if you where the MOTC ?

Here is my summary of things I would do.

1. Enforce all bikes to have lights and bells installed on January 2011

2. Enable regulation for approved lights and bells (electrical and mechanical ones)

3. Define a common sound for bike bells

4. Install bike traffic lights to allow bikers to turn right on specifc corners when light it red
for cars/motorcycles

5. Enforce heavy ticketing for cars on the bike lanes

6. Enforce heavy ticketing for illegally parked cars on high traffic N/S bound lanes (eg Fu-Xing..)
- Lot of those stores have staff outside to watch for police

7. Bikers should stick out their hand when turning (recommendation, no law enforcement)

8. Install more bike parking areas

9. Speed up the number of bike lanes on N/S roads. Cost down.

10. Create Bus islands (right now, bus/taxis' loadingoffoading is dangerous and lane is much
to narrow. Chance to hit an opening door or exiting passenger is high.

More to come..

Taiwan as a Bike Haven

President Ma Yin-jeou urged the MOTC to enact biking regulations and traffic rules to protect the rights of bikers. The guidelines are for riders to ride safely, said Hsieh Cheng-kuan, who is the chairman of the association of bicycle safety. Riders should keep their bikes 30 to 50 centimeters away from the road lanes, notify nearby riders with their bike bell before cutting in lines, and be aware of the surroundings especially the rear bikes and vehicles.

News here

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Bike lanes one of the "three strikes" ?

The author of this article claims the Tun-Hua bike lane is one of the three big failures ("strikes") in Taipei.

News Article here

I wonder the author of this article ever rode his/her bike on Tun-Hua road. It's a very very big improvement and a nice ride, except for the narrow parts where private cars, buses load/unload (special near the Chang-Gung hospital), or where taxis drivers have their midday nap or have their lunch-box when parked in the middle of the bike lanes. (it's happens!). More physical separation could help (to avoid being intimidated by those screaming 60-70km/h racing and waving from left to right motorcycles, any fines for those?, and how about the ever slow driving taxi's looking for pick ups blocking bikers, changing their speed slow to fast, turning in front of bikers intimidating them intentionally or non-intentionally?)

The truth is that there is not much space due to the wide middle lanes on Tun-Hua Road. (For the majority of road, Taipei City provides road priviliges mainly to motorized traffic and not human power driven equipment)

This author blames the bike failure on lack of police and it seems the author prefers to live in a police state instead of focussing on the education of the population . For example the meaning of the colors of the bike lanes and expected fines for violation (e.g a commercial on TV?) . Why not add taxation on owning a motorcycle? Why not provide free service for bikers when their bike has a problem, Why not provide more separate bike parking and less motorcycle/car parking, these benefits could provide reasons to use a bike. No benefit, no change!, or No increased burden, no change!

Simple Conclusion, it's Taipei own citizens and users of the road who cause the failures of good incentives such as the bike lane. (this is inline with people themselves normally being the major cause of many issues in society) The number of bike lanes is growing to slow. Hsin-Yi road and many others North/South and East/West are road that should have the lanes. More bikes lance result in more awareness

Going back to "shared space " without rules is a no-no, not as long as there is no traffic discipiline build in into Taiwans road user's behavior.

Interesting is the article on China post is posted by the "The China Post news staff". too worried to post a name in a news website?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Light(s) in the tunnel ?

Pretty lights were installed in this tunnel. The right lane here is a motor-cycle lane. The reality is, motorcycles don't use it and scream at 50 to 70km/h in the middle of the car lanes or just along bikers. The pavement is still not good to cycle. Is there some money left to improve safety and change the lane to a bike lane? For example reduce to one wider car lane and the rest to a bike lane with a physical barrier in between?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How Sao Paulo does it

Do we need a U-bike if you can BYOB (Bring Your Own Bike?). When every MRT will have a space to park your own bike? The U-bike is mainly attrractive for, you guessed. .. tourists... Find the movie here

How NYC is getting ahead of TPC

How New York is making progress (and Taipei not really). Adds in Taiwan for driving? Free helmets? Never heard of here in T(ai)P(ei)C(ity).
News here

How Taxi drivers are getting away with it

Does this make sense? News here. The good guys get punished, the bad guys walk away free. It happen to me once I had to break for a passenger coming out of a taxi parking far way of the sidewalk, the woman in a very fancy dress shouted at me "why you bike so fast !!!" (Actually I was much slowed down for a traffic light the taxi was parked in the front of). Her husband (or lover, whatever) came along asking if I was alright. Well maybe she got a bad day..

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Taiwan's emerging lifestyle

A very nice and interesting website with some galleries and stories for bike lovers can be found here. Try the "I love my bike" button for a Taipei bike experience story.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Taiwan's bike lane colors.

Bike lanes in Taipei (Tun-Hua) are Green, (with less wide area's in other colors). In Kao-Hsiung they are Red (picture above. However in Tao-Yuan Shien they are Red/Blue (see an earlier post in April: "Promising but not in Taipei"). Does this service any specific purpose? Hopefully this is not political. Is there or will there be a Taiwanese standard for bike lanes? (and please.. also for signs, in Kao-Shiung they write "Bike lane" in Chinese on the road, in Taipei it's a sign like in Tao-yuan, but Tao-Yuan sign is different than in Taipei... etcetera.. .) take a look at this bike lane failure here

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why every road in Taipei should have 8 lanes

The 1st lane is used for parked motorcycles and bikes, because often the side-walks just don't offer enough space and people still park there anyhow.
The 2nd lane is for bikes (completely isolated from any other lanes, otherwise motorcycles and car will park and drive on it)
The 3rd lane is for parked cars
The 4th lane is for double parked cars (because this if often more normal than an exception)
The 5th lane is for those litte vans, taxis and buses to pick up people
The 6th lane is for motorcycles, because I really hate them being spread all over all the lanes riding at 60 to 70km/h and drive so very close to my car and damage it
The 7th lane is for cars which go straight
The 8th lane is for cars which need to turn left.

The last reason is that 8 is a lucky number, so it's easy to remember.

We could reduce this to 7 lanes, if car parking is prohibited, however, car drivers ignore this, so still need one lane for parked cars.

More bike lanes , cities excluded

Sorry, your tax money is used to promote tourism in the next year - don't expect benefits to come back in your regular paycheck. So it's not for you - city citizen - who want to get to work easily by bike. Unless ofcourse you work for the bike and related companies that probably will be able to rent or sell their stuff to the tourists. Wonder , wonder which companies get selected...

Meanwhile, Wang said, the transportation ministry will assist local governments in developing five model cycling trails in Taipei County, Yilan County, Hualien County and Taitung County, all of which are known for their tourism resources.

By the way, these government sponsored facilites may kill the fitness clubs that already exist. Unless ofcourse people are smart enough to choose a center where you have professional trianers who can help to prevent you to train incorrectly (and hurt yourself)

News is here

Ride For Dream

Ride for dream website is here and here and the news article is here

New bike lanes and plans

Some more new articles related to biking


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The potential Taipei bike lane failure

Well, even the bike lanes not finished (the progress is quite slow) the failure of it is already apparent.

I tried the new Tung-Hua North road bike lane a few times. At the distance of only few hundred meters the number of cars, taxis and vans that just bluntly parked on the bike road were countless. Yes, PARKED, I checked and in several vehicles no person could be found. Somee taxi drivers were having their lunch and some other were just taking a midday nap. It did not happen only once, but on EVERY single occasion I rode the lane. The space for normal traffic is now less because there is the bike lane, thus the danger to be hit by a car from behind and the taxis or being hit by a taxi or van opening the door has increased.. This does not mean the bike lane is a failure. How can Taipei change the behavior of these engine driven road users? It's all in the culture and enforcing the law. I drive my car every day in Taipei, but no way I would ever think about parking my car bluntly right there on the bike lane. BTW: Buses still need to pick up people, will there be islands?

The speed of (traffic) light

Ever crossed a big cross-section by bike when the light just changed? While you were completely occupied trying to cross the road before bikers and cars run into you, did you notice how long it took for the traffic light to change from green to red? No? you be surprised. If you look, uh.. count closely, you can find that it only takes 1 second from green to yellow (or orange if you prefer) an the other second goes into to change to red, and I found this is consistent at small and big cross sections in Taipei.

So imagine, at the MOT proposed maximum speed of 15km/h for bikers, how far will you get in 2 seconds? Well simple mathematics will show you that is 4.16 meters per sec, thus around 8 meters! If you ride a road bike like me (I have to confess I violate this informal speed limit) at around 25km/h, that is around 14 meters.

Are roads wider than that in Taipei? Oh, Definitely yes. Try to cross Tung-Hua South road from Hsin-Yi. The gap is huge! Let's take a car, 50KM/H, that would be 26 meters only. Even a car won't make it. So, bottom line. The lights are changing way too fast!

And again, yesterday, I was just halfway on the crossing and there the light went, yellow.. a police officer who was "controlling" (Actually more just copying the traffic light) saw me coming and while it was yellow.. stopped me !! Told me "just wait here" , I was there halfway, beside the police officer, with all buses, cars, and all other traffic passing me in the front and back. That was weird.

Blame it on the bike

Article here

Somehow frustration is creeping up again when reading this article which reflects the "blame it on the biker" policy the MOT has been exercising for so many years now. It's an such easy way to deflect from the real (Infrastructural) problems.

4% of all traffic accidents are related to biking. That makes 96% of them related to pedestrians and engine enabled vehicles. Assuming the number of pedestrian accidents are in the range of bikers, could we thus conclude it would NOT be bikers causing most of accidents? No, ofcourse not.

As always, one should be very careful with such conclusions. Are these just made by MOT folks comfortably tucked away behind their desks while the sales of bikes are spiking and the infrastructure for bikes is not coming, while cars, taxis, vans, trucks and motorcycles showing more and more disrespect for bikers or did they really dig into the statistic to find the root causes?

Concentration? Where did these accidents happen City or urban areas? The article only points at the bikers, but there is not conclusion made of what MOT plans to do about it.

Data ? Where is the supporting data? Ofcourse an increase it not good, but if we would double the number of engine enabled vehicles, wouldn't we see an increase in accidents too?

Deaths? Yes, helmets may help, but helmets are a reactive solution. Wearing helmets may reduce deaths but won't reduce the number of collisions. It’s the same kind of solution like saying, "you should buy a Benz, because it’s more safe".

Lights? May help, but will Taiwan enforce to have every bike sold to be sold with lights or even sponsor it? In Europe when you buy a bike, you get it with lights. Not here. In Taipei the roads have a lot of light already and even without lights you are clearly visible. Though in IMHO behavior and the infrastructure play the major role for reducing accidents before lights will make a significant impact. Ofcourse, MOT may have have more details to challenge this view.

Awarenesss? There is so much MOT can do to improve road safety, but not much seems to happen or learned. It comes down to reporting statistics and blaming it on the biker. Why the MOT can't put some advertisement on TV to make poeple aware of bikers and pedestrians to show how cars should NOT turn and how they should give way to bikers and pedestrians? It's not happening.

Culture? Definitely culture pays a role. People are not educated either. So many parents walk their kids across the road by red light or cross the road is strange way. (In Europe you learn you should cross the way using the least distance possible).

Education? Here, people don’t even look left and right before they cross. Lack of traffic education is part of the problem also. Even in Europe bikers must point their arm into the turning direction. Do Taiwan junior high schools educate biking and traffic laws? I wonder.

Traffic laws? These may work in one country may not work somewhere else. For example in Europe a car taking a right turn the driver must look in the mirrors and give way to anyone going straight be in a motorcycles, biker or pedestrian. Is that enforced in Taiwan ? No. You just get cut off.

Behavior ? In Taipei everything in rush. No one has time and every square centimeter is used. No one will allow you any space on the road. And behavior like in this article (hopefully an exception) does not encourage to point out to car drivers their bad behavior. Would you dare to challenge any driver, even he drives completely insane, then get punished twice by assault? Those insane drivers are often, yes, insane.. so, be careful. “don’t see, don’t look and don’t talk" might better while we hope MOT start to sort out the true root causes and systemic solutions.

Conclusion: So where bikers need to go? Do bikers need to stay twisting an turning around pedestrians (which complaints are rising) or around the illegally parked cars, taxis vans and the buses which are always in such a hurry to pick up people so they cut off bikers which need to stop every 50 to 100 meters for those buses. There are so many parent and grandparents riding their kids to school. In the small lane where I live, the number of parked bikers has exploded and are more than motorcycles. (which is a good thing actually), however it leaves less room for motorcycles and the chaos is only increasing. Now when driving your car you need to start looking out more and more for parked motorcycles and bikes that are sticking out and potentially damage cars.

The Taipei roads belong to motorbikes and cars, the sidewalk to pedestrians. Bicycles fall somewhere in between (in the big gap) and after so many years, the MOT still hasn't really figure it out how to approach a solid solution the infrastructure and change of behavior of the drivers of engine driven vehicles.

Note: MOT = Ministry Of Transportation

Dangerous moves

These are the two most annoying movements by car drivers you will daily experience one or more times per day on the bike in Taipei.

First is he “Catch Up and Turn”. Many drivers like to try to "beat" the biker and turn before the biker even if the biker already started to pass the crossing. Specially Taxi’s and those small blue pick-up trucks like to do this, because they are in such incredible hurry.

The second one is the “Cut off and pick up” movement. Most of the time these are done by taxi’s and buses. (because they pick up more people, eh) but recently I have been experiencing this by some regular car drivers also. This behavior shows the incredible lack of respect for bikers.

P.S: If you are a car driver, please don’t train these movement since they are incredible dangerous and you definitely will get some angry face or noise feedback back from bikers.

Enforcement without regulation

Article here

Enforcement without Regulation. MOTC is just HARASSING and scaring the population with penalties while MOT does not have a solid solution for the chaos exists. Very typical for MOTC's attitude. I bought my racks years ago. Was there an approval label on it? Ofcourse not ? Where to get it? Do I now have to pay for testing of my rack to get such label? What is the regulation now? For most rack is is almost impossible to avoid blocking the car license plate. Every car is different MOT should be thinking this through a bit more. For example, people can't get a FREE 3rd license plate to put on their rack or alow them to paste the car number on their rack. And an even more important problem with racks are lights. Most racks block the car rear lights. Again, the same story, MOT is focusing on penalties and forget to look at the big picture of safety issues.

Is this blog biased?

Yes, could be. But for sure we need something to balance the power of engine enabled vehicle drivers and the lack of MOT honest support for bikers and the Taipei bike infrastructre.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Bus bike racks

More commuter friendliness coming... here

Friday, May 29, 2009

Bike Lane Standard Operation Procedure

1. Approach the lane at high speed because the sidewalk is 2 to 5 centimers higher.
2. After the hopefully soft landing, BREAK! (with the REAR wheel break!). Look forward to check for any pedestrians on the bike path, if found.. it might be too late already. Say "sorry" and continue to step 3
3. When reaching the other side. make the decision: take the road or enter the side-walk
4. After avoiding any obstacles and pedestrians on the side-walk, continue your journey.

U-Bikes in the wild

A positive sign. 2 (yes, two!) u-bikes seen at Fu-Xing South road.
They are out of their normal habitat (which is the Xin-Yi / 101 area)

Something is happening?

Construction work on Tun-Hua North Road yesterday.
Promising. The 1st Physically Separated Bike Lane in the City?

Sharing of the side-walk is hopefully something of the past.

An artisitic implementation of painting bike lanes in the form of a triangle. How about circles?

Scooter parking need to give uo space to the bikes!
More, More and More of these please.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Attitude and driver education

Are roots of the problems. I strongly agree with car driver education process. A forum discussion here

Taipei closing it's holes

Hopefully the next "hole" the city will address is a detailed plan and roadmap for bike lanes published on the city's website. Read here.

Why the tax payers money is used to fix this issue and not out of the pocket of the companies which have the benefit of the holes? The (road) polluter should pay..

BTW the mayor was saying here.. "no no, please don't push me into this hole, I promise you nice bike lines. I promise!"

Substandard Traffic controls

Worth to be read. here.
If you are interested in Taipei current traffic conditions, look here
Read here why counters should only count down for red to green light.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Have it all in Taipei

"The best way to explore the city is... On a bicycle. To reduce the city's carbon footprint, the Taipei City Government recently launched the YouBike Program, which lets people rent bicycles for as little as NT$40 (S$2) a day. You can rent a bicycle from any of the many stations located throughout the city and return it at another station which is convenient. There are also bicycle paths everywhere in the city, ensuring the safety of pedestrians, cyclists and motorists."

Source: here

A new law proposal

"Cyclists must also ride on bicycle-designated roadways and not on pedestrian walkways" Sounds good but eh.. . then we first need those "roadways" on EVERY street. See you in 2080 and all those paint already put on the streets have to be removed ... Why not do it right the first time?
Source here

The Most Natural Taipei Trip

-- February 2, 2009 --Given a choice between Metro, bus, or taxi as the primary mode for touring Taipei, which would you choose? When it comes to a place where transportation is as convenient as it is in Taipei, using any kind of mass transportation is both convenient and inexpensive, but one also loses a little bit of the enjoyment of seeing Taipei at leisure. So riding a bicycle around Taipei at one’s own pace seems to be a pretty good alternative. As one rides along the Jingmei, Xindian, Danshui, or Keelung Rivers, one can feel the light breeze upon one's skin, enjoy a view of Taipei's scenic riverbanks, and experience a true lightness of heart.

source: here
(True. .. exactly .. biking AROUND Taipei is not too bad!)

Berkely Example

A video here

Thank you Dahon

Taipei has well-developed bicycle-only tracks that skirt the city, but it lacks similar infrastructure in the city's core where cycling on the street can be dangerous. In addition, cyclists breathe in more tailpipe exhaust than other commuters. One British study even suggested that the benefits of the extra exercise are negated by filling your lungs with all that cancer-causing pollution. An annual survey of 1,000 residents conducted by the city's Department of Transportation found that less than three percent of Taipei residents use bicycles as their main form of transportation. "If Taipei could improve its bike lanes, we'd see more people riding bikes to work. We already see more people riding bikes since they started upgrading the bike lanes on the rivers. If you establish that same kind of network in the city, increase bike access on bridges, and introduce congestion charges, there would definitely be more people riding to work," said Dahon Vice President Josuha Hon (韓安石) in an e-mailed statement. His company saw its UK sales jump 40 percent after London started charging motorists to enter the city center in 2003, according to Dahon's Web site.
Source: here

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Taipei "Bike" lanes

Yeah... it happens...

Source: here

Monday, May 4, 2009

Taipei critical mass ride

An interesting event here. however it's politized, that's a pity. Biking should not be linked to politics or be used as a tools for porpaganda of a party. If any city government - blue or green - in the past had seriously considered commuting on the bike in the city, the city would have looked much different already.

Taiwan Bike day 2009

One day the comfort of a road and then back to reality... the city sidewalks...

News here and here and here

3 more years, until paradise...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A new road sign in Taipei

Can you guess it's meaning? No it's not a rain shelter for bikers. It could be "watch out, bikes ahead", or "Bike have to drive here". Why the sign is placed just where bike are moving and not in the middle of the road? Some bikers will try to avoid these paint because it's thick causing an safety issue. Also paint is a enemy of bikers. if it's wet, it's easy to slip. So... was tax payer money well spend? Were bikers asked for an opinion before spending the money? Who are the decision makers? Almost every 50 meters one sign for around 6 km, that is hundreds of signs... that is lot's of paint and work...

Monday, April 20, 2009

A Taipei Bike Ride

Look how it feels here

How the U-Bike works

Look at the video in English here

Taipei Problem #4

Some roads in Taipei are very wide, but all space goes to the cars. 3 lanes and no space possible for a bike lane to prevent bikers being harrassed by taxis and buses which like to cut off bikers, who have no any way of defense, just in front of them whenever they prefer? Why roads are only wide for motor powered vehicles?

Taipei Suggestion #3

These are useful. Ofcourse examples are debatable, These are just positive suggestions and food for thought. If you have pictures of other problems or positive suggestions, please send them to the email as provided in the first post here

Taipei Suggestion #2

We could use some of these.

Taipei Suggestion #1

Besides the suggestions provided for physically seperated bike lanes, here are a few other ideas. Why the Taipei version has only motorcyle signs?

Taipei Problem #3

In Taipei we are supposed to walk BIKES and not DOG. So now you know why when you see a person walking the bike. On the other side of this bridge you can bike, though it's not officially a bike lane. And it's very narrow and occupied with flower baskets which haven't seen a flower for the past 4 years (if ever)

Taipei Problem #2

A (motor)bike lane. Bicycles? Hmm. Well... it doesn't say not allowed. The funny thing is, this tunnel has a (motor) bike lane on one side but not on the other side. (it has a very narrow sidewalk on the other)

Taipei Problem #1

In our series of "Taipei Problems", here the first example. This is a tunnel that connects Fu-Shing North Road with the North of the city and goes underneath the airport. Initially this Tunnel was open for bikes, but after one fatal bike accident the Taipei City solution was this. Now, finally cars and motorcycles can drive as fast as posible and bikers have to take another (very small road) to get around the airport. With a tunnel maybe just 3 meters wider and a designer without a Ph.D degree (Permanent Head Damage) we could have bike lanes in this tunnel.

The Response

Thank you for your opinion. Mayor pays attention on your suggestion very much. He especially commands us to reply your question as soon as possible. Regarding to your suggestion about "The bike lane of Taipei ", We response as follows:

Between 2002 and 2007, we build over 58.5 kilometers bike lanes and 100 kilometers riverside bike lanes around the city. Moreover, we set a long-term plan to build over 150 kilometers bike lanes by 2010 and link city bike lanes and riverside bike lanes.

In addition, we have a plan to develop DunHua Road into a cyclist-friendly road by physically dedicated bike lane. In the future, the road along the MRT like Xinyi Road will also be improved with a dedicated bike lane.

In Xinyi District Bike rental stations, similar to those in Paris and Amsterdam, will be available this year. In the near future, bike rental stations will also be provided on DunHua Road.

The future development plan of bike lane will eventually link areas of Taipei by bike lanes. We hope people living in Taipei can bike to schools, offices, recreation and sports centers, and shopping malls. And we will take your suggestion to build safe and convenient bike lane systems.

Thank you for your opinions on the traffic of this city.
If further contact is required, welcome to keep in touch with us (

Best Regards,
Kuo Chung-Sheng, Director of Traffic Engineering Office, Taipei City Government

A letter to the Taipei City Mayor

This was a post to the Taipei City Mayor in May 2008. You can find the mayor's mailbox here

Dear Mayor,

Yesterday I saw on the news that Ma Yin-Jeou marked the bike lanes in Taipei as being "international standard". Like previous years, when I saw the identical news report about the bike-day, I felt more depressed than optimistic seeing Taipei change in favor of bikers.

So I decided to finally send you a quick note to voice out my opinion.

Maybe (I do disagree though) the few bike lanes along the river side and the ones (that have detoriated) near the city hall are up to those (which?) standards for recreational biking. But if Taipei city goals is to bring biking as a safe alternative for DAILY commuting - as mentioned in the reports - I would not be able to agree.

I have been biking every weekend (recreational) for the past 3 years from Taipei City to Yang-Ming Moutain and those areas. I wouldn't recommend anyone to daily commute on a bike to work. The city is just not safe and convenient for bikers to get quickly from A to B by bike.

After 13 years living in Taipei I just can't believe Taipei city still does not have any roads that connect south to north and west to east with 100% dedicated bike lanes.

The attached video is a video that compares New York with other (European) cities. I hope the Taipei city government can find great opportunities and ideas from this.


Unfortunately my personal feeling is that Taipei is closer to NY conditions than other city in the world and NY is being regarded to be very far behind "international standards" You can see for yourself in the video.

So when talking about "international standards" it may depend to which country or city Taipei is being compared with, since the standards vary a lot between countries. I wonder if Taipei officials ever visited other countries to take a look at how other citys organize their bike lanes and traffic.

I understand Taipei is really crowded but this should not prevent Taipei city from trying to make a change.

I could send you a file with some more suggestions but I can't attach files to this message

Thank you very much an I hope you can put a visible stamp on your term as mayor and Taipei city's infrastructure by making a difference for bikers in the coming years and let daily commuting on a bike become a true and realistic alternative.

Promising, but not in Taipei

A promising improvement, however in 龜山鄉 on Fu-Shing 3rd road and not in Taipei. Seems Guei-Shan is ahead of Taipei!. There is one stretch with two lanes on one side of the road. Very nice, however who do we see to use it also ? yes? yes? ....


You never bike alone

See how Vancouver got road improvement by using critical mass. Commute don't pollute! Only PRESSURE can make a change. A lot of lessons the government learned how biking made a positive impact. After recreational fun it's time to commute!!! See the trailer here

A letter

This could as well be applied to Taipei City. Read here

Taipei halts cyclist penalty plan

Penalties, Penalties, and Penalties. Seriously ? Is the Taipei government bike-ability plan only based on penalties to make biking "safer"? Read how the Taipei city government tried to limit the freedom of biking in Taipei. Lucky for us, bikers, it's has been postponed, but... for how long? Find the news here. A 15km/h maximum limit? You must be seriously kidding. What is the scientific reason behind this? Does biking become dangerous for cars and motorbikes so Taipei City solution is to have the bikers slow down? Would it mean that pedestrians will be prohibited from running, because we may then equally state that it is less controlled than walking? How does it make you feel that your tax money is paid to the folks writing these plans? The commissionar's (Luo Shiaw-shyan , 羅孝賢) profile (which shows he owns a road bike and has a Ph.D from NTU) is here. We may assume he knows what 15km/h feels like. It all shows Taipei City Government perception of biking is as a recreational activity for the family instead considering it a method of commuting and a serious contender to bring the number of scooters, cars and buses down to lower air pollution. Does it need a Ph.D to develop "plans" like these? I am sure Ah-ma from the corner could do it as well, but for her ofcourse biking is too dangerous in our "high speed" city. There is a story here about a biker who got a ticket for speeding in a park over 15mph and the average measured speed was 17-19mph (yes, Miles!, not Kilometers!)

Bicycle Blunders

Some more lessons learned how NOT to implement bike-ability can be found here

The Bikeability Test

How's biking in your area? Download the "Bike-ability Test" Here

Taipei: A Tokyo Copy ?

Here is is link to someone who tried to bike in Tokyo. Anything familiar that you have seen in Taipei? Take a look at the pictures here. Maybe Taipei can be smarter...

Bike Lane Designs

Here are two different design to integrate bike lanes. The first one can be found here which looks like this:

The drawback here is that bikes are sandwiched between moving traffic and parked vehicles.. What happens when a parked cars open the left door? So the other option is this:

Now the bikers are safe and still have an option to get on the sidewalk. but what about buses and taxis. Here is an option.. Create bus and taxi pick up and drop off islands.

And there is more bike lane design information located here

The case of seperated bike lanes

Here is an interesting 8 minutes long video that shows different cities and bike path solutions. How does Taipei compare?

You can find the above movie and much more here

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Biking only for political publicity?

Is the healthy biking topic just only useful for politic promtion and publicity or will Taipei put action with words someday?

As stated there are 250km of bike lane in Taipei. I haven't coutned, however have you seen any long stretches of bike lane on Ren-Ai and Tun-Hua as claimed?

Bike day is coming on May 3rd again. But has much changed in the past few years for bike commuters in Taipei city? Should biking in Taipei only be a happy epxerience on bike day? There are lot of opportunities in Taipei to add REAL bike lanes, for example on Hsin-Yi and other roads which are under construction. A good time to fix the roads which have so many holes and bumps everywhere. Will the city government finally come out with a clear plan and bikers finally be given SAFE bike lane as a present?

An interesting post

This is an interesting post. As a biker in Taipei I am sure may find several points you can agree with.

Taipei Bike Map

Here is the Taipei Bike Map. What is missing in the city for daily commuting?

Taipei bike Sharing

Here is the link to the bike sharing system in Taipei. Have your say! Would you use it, why and why not? Is it really successful? The statios occupy a lot of space like all the things in the City Hall Area where space is plenty and everything is luxury. But how about the more dense areas in the city? Wouldn't you prefer to bike your own bike from north to south and from east to west and have a safe place to stall it near the MRT for a low fee instead?

A Blog For Bike Commuting In Taipei Area

This is the first posting on this blog. The purpose of the blog is to provide positive input to enhance the Taipei bike experience. As well as I you may wonder why Taiwan is such a major player in the bike arena but the biking experience for daily commuting (like from home to work or from the city to the moutains) but is far from pleasant. For example don't you think Taipei City should have bike lanes instead of the lines of paint beside the zebra crossings? Do you think biking in Taipei is safe? What do you think should be done before you change from the scooter, car, MRT or bus to a bike to commute in the city? We can look at examples of other cities how they implement good bike facilities and solutions. Please send your emails and suggestions to, preferable a HTML email with pictures. Please always provide positive input and suggestion for the issue you want to highlight. Hopefully Taipei City will listen!