Taiwan has introduced legislation that wil force riders of electric bikes to wear helmets as of July 1st, reports the Taipei Times.
The ruling comes from the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and ties in with a decision by the Department of Railways and Highwyas that bikes should not exceed 25kph.
Taiwan is said to have around 180,000 ‘certified’ electric bikes in circulation, but the new rules were tabled as the market had begun to adapt electric bikes to reach speeds of 30 to 40kph. The introduction of speed pedelecs was set to further muddy the waters.
Statistics from the National Police Agency suggest a some 2,464 traffic incidents involved electric bikes between 2012 and September last year, with eight people killed during that time.
Fines will be handed out to those breaching the new rules that will sit in line with those handed to cyclists breaking traffic rules. Uncertified electric bikes will be handed a fine many times higher and in the region of NT$3,600 to NT$10,800.
Department of Railways and Highways section head Michael Tsao said: “We have received complaints from people over why some people can ride motorcycles without a helmet,”
“The fact is, they are actually riding electric bicycles. However, it is difficult for people to tell the difference between an electric bicycle and an electric motorcycle, because they can look similar.”
As a result, e-bike owners will now be required to attach a label issued by the Vehcile Safety Certification Centre to the rear of their bike.
The new ruling also stipulates that electric bikes entering the market must now be equipped with mechanisms to prevent tampering with the top speed of a bike.
By 2020, electric bicycles will also be restricted to measure no more than 1.7 metres in length and 0.7 metres in width, as well as 1.10 metres in height.
(Image: Andrew Gatt)