Bike path problems in Taipei


#1

Now Taiwan does have a good bike path network that they are expanding on it, but there are still some major problems. I’m not sure if I’m the only one that have noticed the following.

There are rules, but no one enforces them. The problem is not the cyclists who spend money on bikes. But rather the twits who rent bikes on the paths and use U-Bikes. The paths have yellow lines down the center. It seems that no one understands the concept of left and right traffic. They zig zag and can’t ride in a straight line and take up all the space and ride as a snails pace.

The next issue I have are people who just stop in the middle and take up all the space and those with children who don’t monitor them.

Lighting is another issue. Many dark areas and people riding at night with no lights. Worse are joggers who don’t have lights. Once a year I ride across the Netherlands and Germany and the bike path police give you a ticket of 50Euros if you ride at night with no lights. Is it so difficult to have bike path police?

Next is the problems with signs. There are areas of the paths that are both for cyclists and joggers. But then you have these idiots pushing grandma on a bike path. Is it so difficult to keep to the walking paths?

The stops where they rent bikes is also a problem. Not the stops, but rather the bikes. The condition of these bikes is horrible and very often have faulty brakes. In Europe bike rental shops have their bikes checked once a year.

People must follow the rules. There is a government department that is suppose to oversee this, but I really wonder what they do. Personally I would have no problem charging a tax to use the network.

Worst of all are those scooter idiots to drive on the bike path.


#2

[quote=“wereldomroep”]Now Taiwan does have a good bike path network that they are expanding on it, but there are still some major problems. I’m not sure if I’m the only one that have noticed the following.

There are rules, but no one enforces them. The problem is not the cyclists who spend money on bikes. But rather the twits who rent bikes on the paths and use U-Bikes. The paths have yellow lines down the center. It seems that no one understands the concept of left and right traffic. They zig zag and can’t ride in a straight line and take up all the space and ride as a snails pace.

The next issue I have are people who just stop in the middle and take up all the space and those with children who don’t monitor them.

Lighting is another issue. Many dark areas and people riding at night with no lights. Worse are joggers who don’t have lights. Once a year I ride across the Netherlands and Germany and the bike path police give you a ticket of 50Euros if you ride at night with no lights. Is it so difficult to have bike path police?

Next is the problems with signs. There are areas of the paths that are both for cyclists and joggers. But then you have these idiots pushing grandma on a bike path. Is it so difficult to keep to the walking paths?

The stops where they rent bikes is also a problem. Not the stops, but rather the bikes. The condition of these bikes is horrible and very often have faulty brakes. In Europe bike rental shops have their bikes checked once a year.

People must follow the rules. There is a government department that is suppose to oversee this, but I really wonder what they do. Personally I would have no problem charging a tax to use the network.

Worst of all are those scooter idiots to drive on the bike path.[/quote]

Make an account just to rant? You’re quite butt hurt.

No one enforcing traffic laws and rules? Welcome to Taiwan.

Just deal with it. Nothing will change in our lifetime.


#3

The last thing I heard out of the Legislative Yuan is that bike path police are very high on their list of priorities.


#4

Same thing happened in Xiamen, where I lived for a number of years - excellent bike path about 30 kms long, running along the eastern seaboard of the island.

Totally and utterly fucked by idiotic tourists weaving left and right on tandem bikes, and (forgive me for using this filthy word) taking selfies.

I used to ride that path five times/week, and got really fit riding it. After I got bumped by the tourist twats or had to brake hard so many times I wore out my pads I gave up.

Give ‘them’ something nice, and they will ruin it.


#5

Think of it as training for the real roads.


#6

Almost made me literally laugh out loud in the office.

Thanks for the comment Scott. :laughing:


#7

These are all legitimate complaints and easy to deal with once you know the paths better. The problem areas are small and made worse by sunny weekends. Wet weekdays and later evening rides are awesome. I used to ride from bitan to Ximen Reservoir and see a dozen other people.

Also don’t go too fast. The paths are legally dual use for walkers and riders and the regulations state that walkers have priority.

I always find the dadaocheng area the worst. Small narrow paths and lots of riders.

Oh well. It is true what you see is the best it is going to be in terms of civic mindedness. I actually think Taiwan has regressed these past 5 years.


#8

It was a good one :roflmao:


#9

OP is culture, shocking, hard. I suspect it’s peaking though and the first wave of acceptance will wash over him soon.

Not to downgrade your complaints which are valid, but here (and probably everywhere) it’s very much a process of two steps forward, one large step back at times. The bikes on paths and the code of usage is evolving all the time,
It should get better…slowly. The problem I noticed when moving back to Taipei was the numbers of bikes on pavements and how fast they ride. Safety culture barely exists here, for me it’s a problem for my kids , I have to constantly watch out for them on the pavement…


#10

See the riverside bike paths for what they are… A car-free way of getting from A to B that is open to all and greatly promotes physical activities in a country where sporting culture is not self evident.

If you want to get away from that, there’s one great alternative… Gewoon lekker de bergen in!


#11

The odd bit of signage saying “Keep Right” would be a good idea. Someone is going to get hurt one day for sure.


#12

I’d be in favour of more signs showing the dangers of taking a selfie in the middle of the lane. (I’d be even more in favour of some kind of smartphone malware that one day suddenly starts shooting lasers from the selfie camera - hey, a guy’s gotta dream.)

Usually I find the bike paths pretty good. Yeah, weekends after 10am or so they’re too busy, but that applies pretty much everywhere in Taipei. Of course there are the occasional idiots riding two or three abreast and blocking the lane, but it seems to me that if you look at the driving on the roads, the behaviour on the cycling paths is better than you’d expect.


#13

This made me laugh!

I once heard a Taiwan resident from Europe comment on the dubious bike riding on the National Taiwan University campus, which as some of you may know is loaded with bikes. He said he wished the students would take a look at how people drive on the roads to learn some basic skills. I retorted that this is exactly the problem: the “model” driving on the roads is exactly why the bike riding culture here is … sometimes less than awesome.

Guy


#14

This is not a Yuan issue. But rather the city governments. They are expanding the network, but thats about it. Considering how over staffed the police force is. Start a bike unit. Very simple solution.


#15

Just deal with it. Nothing will change in our lifetime.[/quote]

Nothing will change if no one one says anything.


#16

This is not a Yuan issue. But rather the city governments. They are expanding the network, but thats about it.[/quote]
Expanding the network, yes, but not just at the city level. The central government has been planning a round-the-island bike path (over 900k in length), and according to this article, it’ll be completed at the end of this year. Riding it, one can circumnavigate the island in 9 days.

udn.com/news/story/7266/940625-單車環島1號線年底完成-9天可環島一圈!


#17

This is not a Yuan issue. But rather the city governments. They are expanding the network, but thats about it.[/quote]
Expanding the network, yes, but not just at the city level. The central government has been planning a round-the-island bike path (over 900k in length), and according to this article, it’ll be completed at the end of this year. Riding it, one can circumnavigate the island in 9 days.

udn.com/news/story/7266/940625-單車環島1號線年底完成-9天可環島一圈![/quote]

That’s a puff piece. It by no means refers to a dedicated cycle path around the island. It just means white lines on the road saying “Cycle Path”. Plus cyclists have been riding round the island in 9 days for half a century already :sunglasses: .


#18

Imagine the large number of bike path police that’s going to be needed for that!


#19

I’d be in favour of more signs showing the dangers of taking a selfie in the middle of the lane. (I’d be even more in favour of some kind of smartphone malware that one day suddenly starts shooting lasers from the selfie camera - hey, a guy’s gotta dream.)[/quote]

I think it really depends on where you are on the paths. For example, on the stretch of riverside paths from the east end to the west end of the Song Shan Airport, the path is very wide and runners/pedestrians mostly stay to the sides. However, with the paths that go from Da Dao Cheng down towards Gong Guan, those paths are so tiny and during peak hours there’s almost no way to consistently ride over 25kph.

I really do not think signs would help too much. “They’re more like guidelines than rules”. For example, most ramps to bridges ask you to walk your bike and not ride. Unless you’re physically unable to ride up the ramp, I’ve yet to see people get off their bikes and walk them up.

Agreed. There’s many ways to avoid the crowd and some of issues that OP has had. In summary, find alternative routes or avoid being on the paths at peak hours. If people are taking up the entire path riding at snail speed, it’s not disrespectful to let them know beforehand that you’re approaching them from behind. Have some hind sight and take notice that there’s people in front that are moving slow or not moving at all. Do not expect people to have 360 degree vision and see you coming from a mile away and move aside right as you are about to pass them. I usually say a “小心後面喔!” (Careful behind you!) or “不好意思” (Excuse me) when approaching them.

For some of the other issues you may have, here’s some tips:

If they do not have a light and you can’t see them, is there a chance your bike light isn’t bright enough? Solution: Buy a brighter light.

When you can rent bikes for almost an entire day for 100-200NT, you can’t really expect that much can you?! These bikes are suited for recreational outings where you are probably not going faster than 10-15kph. Solution: Don’t ride fast on cheap bikes. If you’re not riding fast, I’m pretty sure the employees have no problem with you bringing the bike back to have them tune it or swap for a new one.


#20

I’m a tiny bit uncomfortable with the notion the OP is merely suffering from culture shock, since coming from an outside culture can make you aware of things locals don’t notice simply because that’s the way things always have been for them. I recognise everything he describes. Myself, I come from Scotland where the drinking culture is bordering on out of control: before I came to Taiwan, I didn’t think that much about it, but now that I’ve been away for a couple of years, it seems pretty bad. I’m sure there are Taiwanese who, after returning home after a few years elsewhere, might find things back home they wish were different - like the transport culture.

I understand OP’s point of view entirely, having had a carbon bicycle completely totalled last year by a guy who came racing - and I mean, racing - around a corner on the bicycle paths and straight into me. I was reminded of it taking a walk on the seaside front at Danshui the other day, when a local in racing gear and on a fancy carbon bike zipped and swerved through the late evening crowds at some considerable speed. That he didn’t smack into anyone in the dark is a minor miracle. In the last week I’ve seen two scooter accidents just in the streets near me. Can things change? I don’t know, but I certainly hope so. When I last lived here, 2008-2010, you couldn’t get a decent beer to save your life. Now there’s little bars serving craft beer all over the place. Back home in the UK, the cycling culture is still struggling to take off, being perceived as a predominantly white, middle-class activity, so if there’s a problem, it’s certainly not just here.

In the meantime, there are, as others have pointed out, areas of cycle path outside of Dadaocheng that are almost completely empty. Unfortunately, the chap who totalled my beautiful white Giant carbon Defy was the only other person on the path at that time - although judging by his speed, he clearly thought he was alone.