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Thursday, March 12, 2015

Mayor Ko Wen-je Changing Lanes in Taipei?: Opportunities for The Bike in an Asian Metropolis

Seven Cycles Axiom SL: Biking Lanyu

In a quick note, Taipei city has announced an increase of rental fees for the You Bike program for the first 30min. from gratis to NT 5 dollars. This is really nothing and will hopefully help subsidise Taipei's existing bicycle infrastructure.

You might be asking yourself what that infrastructure might be... and that question is still up in the air as Taipei has far more rental bikes than places to safely ride them.

Taipei's new mayor, Mr. Ko Wen-je, who has taken on the problems of Taipei's culture of overdevelopment, kickbacks and mega-rich interests first, is moving his war on the construction industrial complex to the bike lanes. Much of Taiwan's bicycle policy for the past decade has been crafted from the boardrooms of the largest bike companies and the backrooms of local and central government offices. Bicycle infrastructure is often planned on a build first and ask questions later development plan that fails to address any burning needs other than to apply another superfluous layer to an already saturated tourism scheme for non-cyclists who want to ride bikes.

According to Mayor Ko from an article in the Apple Daily,
Ko Wen-Je's book stated, "I plan to improve bicycle riding environments, including urban bike trails, bike paths and riverside public bicycle system, to promote the use of bicycles in the atmosphere gradually, so that the bicycle has become a part of people's lives. Taipei City is still not enough, "bike friendly", although there are bike lanes, but many places are used as a parking lot, resulting in a serious shortage of bike lanes, bike riders have no way to go. 
 It is with this understanding that the mayor is encouraging all citizens to join the upcoming Asian Cycling Forum, which will be held March 19-20 and coincides with the Taipei Cycle cycling expo and the start of the Tour de Taiwan stage race.

This might be a great start for cyclists to begin taking back their space from corporate and development greed.

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