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Monday, February 22, 2016

Taiwan Promotes Healthy Bicycle Lifestyle Amid Killer Pollution?

Over Jiji

Taipei Cycle (March 2-5) hopes the Velo-city Global conference will help boost flagging interest in the bike expo that has been searching for more of a purpose amid competition from Taichung Cycle, Eurobike and Interbike trade shows. BikeBiz has a brief interview with Yi-jyh Kang, the executive director of exhibitions for the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA).

My favorite part of the interview is the last comment that has been ripped straight out of the talking points memo, complete with a mention to an old CNN infotisement Here, Here and Here: 

And Taiwan has been growing its cycle infrastructure…?
Taiwan is known as a Cycling Kingdom for its strengths in manufacturing high-end bicycle products with reasonable prices. However, we are doing more than that. The industry and our government are promoting the “cycling lifestyle” and would like to encourage people to get used to cycling in daily lives. For instance, the bike rental system, YouBike, is very common for public transportation in Taipei and New Taipei City. Besides, the government is constructing cycling paths all over the island, like the one around Sun Moon Lake was even selected as one of the tenmost beautiful cycling paths in the world by CNN. With convenient facilities and beautiful sights, Taiwan is becoming a cycling paradise and more and more people are crazy doing cycling tour here. I would very much like to recommend all of you to come and truly experience cycling here. This is going to be something that you’ll never forget.

Oh, and then there's this....

Although not exactly cycling related, this story should pique the interest of outdoor athletes in Taiwan. The Taiwan Healthy Air Action Alliance alleges Taiwan's air pollution problems may have led to death and injury in the Kaohsiung Marathon.

The Taipei Times reports:

Severe air pollution might be to blame for the death of a runner during a marathon on Saturday and the critical condition of another marathon runner, who fainted while running on Sunday, a group said. 
The runner died after collapsing in a marathon in Yunlin, and the runner who lost consciousness was participating in a marathon in Kaohsiung. The second runner was hospitalized after defibrillation. 
Yunlin and Kaohsiung had elevated levels of fine particulate pollution measuring 2.5 micrometers or less in diameter (PM2.5) during the marathon events. 
The Taiwan Healthy Air Action Alliance yesterday said that the PM2.5 levels during both marathons reached the “purple” level — the most severe degree of PM2.5 pollution defined by the Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) — and although there is no definite causal relationship between air pollution and the two incidents, the health hazards of air pollution could be equal to those of natural disasters.
Of course, these claims have not been verified as other mitigating factors may have led to the participant's death, but it is something to think about. Currently, southern Taiwan is on the receiving end of a weather system out of China that is delivering high levels of dust and pollution combined with our own local varieties.


Current air quality can be monitored here.