UPCOMING RIDES (Invite Yourself Along)


UPCOMING RIDES (Invite Yourself Along)
April 7: The Hell of Taiwan-Taichung to Kaohsiung Ride in honor of Paris-Roubaix.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Blame The Victim: Nanny State Gives Riders Nothing But The Stink of The Onus


The China Post is reporting that New Taipei City has come up with some new rules to "help" cyclists survive on their daily rides and commutes. The article in full says:

The New Taipei City Government yesterday submitted a proposal to the Cabinet-level Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) requiring local bike makers to install warning bells and lights on their products to better safeguard the safety of consumers.

The NTC government filed the proposal based on findings that the failure to install warning bells and lights on bikes had led to serious traffic accidents in the city.
Statistics compiled by the NTC department of transportation showed that of the 9 serious traffic accidents involving bicycles, eight riders died, and another 1,226 bike-related traffic accidents left as many as 1,815 people injured in 2010.
NTC transportation officials said that according to traffic safety rules, bicycles should be fitted with a brake system, a ringing bell, lights, and a light-reflecting device, and riders of bikes without those accessories would be subject to a fine of NT$180 if found.
Accordingly, the officials last week held a meeting with representatives of four leading local bike suppliers, namely Giant, Merida, Pacific Cycles, KHS Bikes to discuss how to reinforce safety instruction on riding bicycles. At the meeting, the bike suppliers stressed that it should be up to the central government to work out a set of uniform specifications concerning the lights, bells and other necessary devices, and that the resultant additional costs may be passed onto to consumers.

Aside from selling bikes that look like Pee Wee Herman's, the New Taipei Government is taking a completely backward approach to the problem of keeping riders safe on Taiwan's streets.

The overall conclusion of the report is flawed to the extent that it could only have originated higher up the policy making chain of command.



The NTC government filed the proposal based on findings that the failure to install warning bells and lights on bikes had led to serious traffic accidents in the city.
Bingo! Great detective work Holmes. If only those bicycles had been equipped with bells and lights they would have surely avoided the truck that ran the red light. The weaving taxi would have taken notice and and yielded to the old woman. Maybe if that recreational rider had only used a slide whistle, that speeding car driving in front of the school would have taken notice.

Yes, blame the bicycle. It is easier than actually enforcing traffic laws. Enforcing traffic laws can be messy and you don't want police officers wasting their time enforcing laws when they are not breaking them as that might create an uncomfortable situation for both the driver and the cop where harmony might be broken. Someone might get upset and... lose face.


...bicycles should be fitted with a brake system, a ringing bell, lights, and a light-reflecting device, and riders of bikes without those accessories would be subject to a fine of NT$180 if found.
Fine the cyclist. They are easier to stop anyways.

Accordingly, the officials last week held a meeting with representatives of four leading local bike suppliers, namely Giant, Merida, Pacific Cycles, KHS Bikes to discuss how to reinforce safety instruction on riding bicycles.
What is even more flawed about this approach is the classic paternalistic top-down method used in dealing with bicycle affairs. Who does the government go to? They go to the manufacturer. Taiwan's cycling policies tend to originate in contact between the manufacturers and the government... and not between the government and the riders they seek to legislate. Rider's are rarely, if ever, a part of the conversation.

It is far easier to simply blame cyclists for their injuries than to come up with actual fixes.

If New Taipei really wants to do something radical to protect cyclists they can start by simply listening to us.

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1 comment:

  1. The police are useless with the cars and have zero control over them. If there were not cameras on the road for speeding and at red lights it would be totally lawless. In my experience all you have to do is start speaking rapid English to them and they get nervous. There is no way I am putting a stupid bell on my bike.

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