Following a clampdown just over the water in China, where electric bikes have been banned entirely from large chunks of major cities, Taiwan will take a softer, albeit still tough approach to pedal-assisted bikes and their riders.
Department of Railways and Highways Deputy Director General Wang Mu-han, cited complaints against electric bike riders, which he said were a “threat to pedestrians”, as well as regular bicycle riders.
Government figures point to some 180,000 e-bikes in circulation nationwide, all of which will now be required to apply for a license. Figures from the National Police Agency suggest a startlingly high figure of people injured in by electric bikes in the nation – a scarcely believable 1,495 last year. Putting the figures together, that would mean one in every 120 e-bikes in the island nation has been involved in an incident in one year alone, unless a few riders are particularly prolific. Four deaths were reportedly among those incidents.
Manufacturers within or shipping e-bikes to Taiwan will further be required to comply with regulations limiting bikes to 25kph, while retailers accused of adjusting that figure upwards will be punished. The ministry’s proposed amendment to regulations would see electric bikes redefined as lightweight scooters and therefore a written and practical test is required to ride.
From July 1st bikes must carry a new certification label to reflect the rules. Furthermore, riders of bikes without that label may soon me met with fines.
If case studies from other regions that have made licenses compulsory are anything to go by, the new rules will likely quickly decrease ridership.