In my experience, Xiwan Road is the most dangerous. Motorcycles use the road as a raceway. Not a few cars do the same (I saw a group of Ferrari’s racing up the road one time). And the police? Two weekends ago, I saw a parked police car at the top doing absolutely nothing! I saw a crackdown in the middle of the road once. I guess there was a bad motorcycle accident this past weekend. Look for more cops for a week or two and then things going back to normal. This sucks because the road is great for cycling. I have seen video of cyclists being taken out by motorcyclists on this road. Going early helps but they’re still out there early, albeit in smaller numbers.
Last time I reached Beiyi road between Yilan and Taipei, there were cars and motorbikes racing like there was no tomorrow. I arrived there hiking through the woods and was welcomed by a stinky toilet surrounded by people in racing kits.
Apparently they are finally working on this. Last Sunday BeiYi was totally taken over by police. Also it was almost traffic free.
Funny I was just giving this some extra thought over the weekend as well.
106 to Pingxi is pretty brutal on the weekends. Saw an M2 in the trees on the way back Saturday and a mangled scooter with the helmet still sitting there on Sunday. Saturday we rolled out at 4:30am to purposely avoid the race cars but a few had also already gotten up much to my annoyance.
Can’t imagine living in one of the small communities along that road, on every ride I see really small children playing out in front of houses which directly line the road, not to mention the elderly. I wonder what it would take for it to actually see a police presence…a bit rhetorical that question.
So motorcycle and car racing is what makes roads dangerous for cyclists? That’s the common theme? That’s really too bad if that’s the case. I’m really surprised that cyclists don’t do more to protest, call the police, etc. There have got to be way more cyclists than crazy motorcyclists.
I would say the safest roads I’ve been on are Xiding Road and then the road that ends at the top of Xiding Road but starts in the area of Academia Sinica. I went up that some time ago with @ranlee. Few cars. On Xiding, the mini buses are a bit of a menace, but there aren’t too many and you can also hear them coming from far away.
For me it’s these and busses. Sometimes blue trucks, but actually I don’t have many bad encounters with them. The busses are mostly mental and the racing is too. I would say the ratio to cyclists to racers (car and motorcycle/scooter) is about equal along 106 on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Maybe more motor vehicles actually.
Riding in general Taipei traffic, for me, feels fairly safe though I try to get through it as quickly as possible.
I was thinking more of mountain roads. I try to stay away from normal roads except to get to a mountain road. I expect things to be bad on regular roads and dangerous conditions don’t surprise me. But I expect things to be safe on mountain roads but they not always are.
When I want flat roads, I always just head to the riverside paths and I do this early to avoid kids, etc.
106 amongst the hills and mountains around Pingxi and Pinglin areas. Certainly not a city road… it’s probably the most popular southern Taipei/New Taipei route on the weekends.
Has anyone mentioned the Yilan->Hualien #9 of Doom? The road past Suao is pretty brutal for cyclists.
I would never do that. Hualien to Taidong maybe but not that. I refuse to even drive on that road anymore. We bought a cheap car and leave it in Hualien. We take the train now. Maybe when the new road is finished there will be less craziness on the mountain road.
Same here, we consider trains to be the only means of transportation to Hualien, other options are not real options. I once went on that road for a few minutes to reach a nice scenic spot and it didn’t take me long before regretting it. Hopefully the new elevated road will help.
It’s a pity because the view from #9 is pretty beautiful, but the amount of trucks and buses on such a narrow road with just death waiting on both sides is absurd.
No, it won’t (not much). Only cars are allowed to take that new road, so motorcycles (not the real problem IMO) and trucks will still take the original road along the cliff.
And I bet that some of the cars that will still take that road will keep driving too much in the inner part of the curve, no matter if that means to get into the other lane or bump a cyclist in the “hard shoulder”.
Will bicycles be allowed on the elevated thingy?
I don’t know. I’ve taken it once, on my motorcycle
But that’s another story hehe.
In my experience, the roads (in Taipei) from 4:30AM-7AM are quite safe. Of course, I always look out for the drunk fool, but it’s sure as hell beats some of the things you guys have listed.
Most mountain roads after 9-10AM on the weekends get pretty damn busy. With 106 and BeiYi being the worst ones. You are not guaranteed quiet roads no matter what time you start, but earlier is always better.
Not a great sample size, but yes, out of the ones you’ve been on, Xiwan is the worst.
Nonetheless, if I had to pick one out of the “bad” list of scooter/heavy motorcycle mountain roads, I would say Xiwan is the safest. Strava says I’ve been up Xiwan 23 times and have descended it multiple times too, but not once have I ever felt it was dangerous.
I once had a heavy bike give me right of way on Xiwan! I came speeding down a steep section and heard them coming from behind me, so I gave them the way, only to see they pulled to the side to do another run up the hill. To my surprise, he stopped, gave me a nod and let me pass.
Correct. They are cracking down pretty hard.
I’ve been up that way 5-6 times this past year. A few times to have coffee at Helen’s and a few times passing by to head to @IbisWtf land. Every single time, I have seen an ambulance. Even that one time during Chinese New Year. The final two times were in the past 1.5 months and they had police at Helen’s Coffee (high point before you descend into Ping Lin) pulling people to the side for speeding or illegal mods.
Friends departed Suao at 11PM and arrived in Xincheng at around 3-4AM. They said the road was deserted, but you reminded us that if we were to attempt it, we would want something 600+ lumines to light the way. So many sections without street lights.
Oh, gee. The first statement is just a nice way of saying you haven’t ridden shit (well, I actually agree). If Xiwan Road is the safest, that’s a sad state of affairs. Maybe the road has just been really bad the last few weeks. I notice it comes and goes.
The frustrating thing (and this applies to so many areas of life in Taiwan) is that it seems so easy to solve and hence the frustration (compare this to bad situations in the US like gun violence where no solution seems to be in sight). I was so shocked when I got to the top of Xiwan Road a couple of weeks ago to see a police car parked up there. This was after being passed about 30 times by two or three groups of motorcyclists racing up, going down, and then back up. You have to actually try to do a worse job than these cops.
I’m starting up at 7 am. I’ll take your advice and go even earlier. But 4:30 am is a bit much, even for this old man.
Another accident on Xiwan Road. Motorcyclist and neighborhood bus. Those little busses scare me on another mountain road that doesn’t have the racers like Xiwan Road does.
What exactly happened?
From the section in the link above (too lazy to read it again), a motorcyclist was going down the mountain road and around a curve. There was a collision with a neighborhood bus. The motorcyclist fell and didn’t get up. He was taken to a certain hospital in Neihu unconscious.
But how did the collision happen? was the bus stopped after the bend? who’s at fault?
I see so many idiots stopping their vehicles no matter the type and size right after blind curves and so many idiots taking curves like if they were in a track. Fuckin’ morons all of them.