Crackdown on drinking, calling on bikes
By Lauly Li ,The China Post
December 25, 2013, 12:18 am TWN
TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Legislative Yuan yesterday passed an amendment to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act which stipulates that any cyclists using cellphones or riding drunk will face maximum fines of NT$600.
The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU, 台灣團結聯盟) caucus proposed the amendment in the wake of a growing number of cyclists in the nation, and urged that bikers riding at night should turn on their bicycle headlights in order to ensure the safety of other commuters.
The amendment states that cyclists who use cellphones, computers, tablets, or other similar devices to make calls, send or receive data, or do other things that might pose threats to road safety while riding on designated streets will receive fines of between NT$300 and NT$600.
According to current regulations, drivers and motorcyclists who commit similar offenses are subject to fines of NT$3,000 and NT$1,000, respectively.
Current regulations do not specify similar prohibitions which apply to police cars, fire trucks and ambulances, and have caused confusion among drivers of those vehicles; in light of this, the newly passed amendment exempted drivers of the aforementioned three types of vehicles from the above restrictions.
As for cyclists who refuse to submit to breathalyzer tests, the amendment states that they will face a fine of NT$1,200.
In order to ensure the rights of pedestrians amid growing complaints from walkers about bikers, the amendment stipulates that cyclists should yield to passersby when riding on pedestrian crossings and sidewalks. Failing to do so, they will face fines of between NT$300 and NT$600.
Amended Articles for Cars
Apart from newly added regulations for bicycles, the amendment further enhances rights of cyclists by forbidding vehicles from driving on bike paths, with violators to face fines of between NT$600 and NT$1,800.
Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) lawmaker Lee Kun-tse (李昆澤) said that Taiwan's laws at present do not specifically forbid certain dangerous driving behaviors, such as suddenly reducing one's speed, changing lanes without first using turn signals, and intentionally tailgating or crowding lanes; as a result, the amendment states that those who exhibit the above driving behaviors will face fines of between NT$6,000 and NT$24,000, and their license plates will be suspended for three months. Should a driver commit the offense twice, their vehicles will be confiscated.