Taipei overrun with bicycles

Illegal parking leads to new regulations

Illegal parking has become an issue in Taipei, according to officials, who are revising municipal regulations to fine owners and remove the offending machines.

If only the United States had the same problem.

According to a recent article in the Taipei Times, it's not automobiles or drivers causing the problem, but bicycles. An estimated 600,000 active cyclists ride in Taiwan, a country notorious for its poor air quality. Many bicycle manufacturers call Taichung home.

Chen Ching-chen, a division chief of Taipei’s Transportation Department, said bicycles parked on sidewalks or along red lines would be removed and the owners would have to pay a NT$100/US$3 removal fee and a maintenance fee of NT$50/US$1.50 per day.

Chen said the new measure would be implemented next year because illegal parking of bicycles has become a big problem, especially near MRT stations and major roads.

Chen Kuan-Long, a division chief of Taipei’s Parking Office, said his office would first issue warning tickets, before fully enforcing the new regulations. The challenge they face, like most agencies in the US, is lack of license plates to assist in tracking down the owners of the bicycles.

The Taipei Police Department has already suggested that the central government establish a bicycle registration system and require all bicycle owners to register their two-wheelers. In the US, the National Bicycle Registry has been working with communities and bike shops since 1984.

Ironically, the Taipei government plans to relax regulations on towing cars during typhoon season. Car owners will now have two hours to move their vehicles out of water gate areas after the city government announces the gates will be closed because of an approaching typhoon, officials said. 

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