Alishan

Alishan, April 12 - 13, 2010. Click pic for album

Taroko to Kending

Taroko Gorge to Kending, Feb 14 - 19, 2010.

Northern Cross Island Highway

Northern Cross Island Highway, May 19 - 21, 2008. Click pic for album
30th July, 2009

Bicycle paths in Taiwan

Day Yeong-tyi, director of the Sustainable Built Environment Research Center at Chung Yuan Christian University had an interesting article about Taiwan's current bicycle craze and the construction of bicycle paths in China Times on Tuesday. The headline translates into something like "Make bicycles a part of daily life and local communities" (讓自行車回歸生活 回到社區) and it can be found here. Day pinpoints several problems and says the main construction concern seems to be the total length of bike paths, how they should be connected to each other, and how conflicts with other types of vehicles should be resolved and so on, while overlooking ecological, local and even cultural problems, as in the case of the Aboriginal Saowac community on the Dahan River which was demolished some time back. For example, bike paths paved with concrete sever the connection between coastal and riverside ecological systems and inland ecological systems by cutting off the paths for animals living within both types of systems. He also says many alien plants are introdcued for landscaping purposes. His suggestion is that in addition to looking at the total length of bike paths for commuting to work or school, local governments should look at boroughs, villages and communities as parts of one living space that can be traversed by bicycle, integrating all bicycle paths into one complete system that makes it possible to safely reach all services by bicycle. He ends by saying that it's not a good idea to only build riverside bike paths that radiate from cities into the surrounding countryside.

4 comments to Bicycle paths in Taiwan

  • AK

    I totally avoid bike paths in Taiwan. They are usually poorly conceived and poorly constructed for bike use (often rough brick surface) it feels like riding the cobblestones of the Paris-Roubaix. Dangerous!
    The other part of the equation is the other cyclists who tend to ride all over the paths at dangerously slow speeds with bicycles under marginal control.
    It actually feels safer and more comfortable to be in a lane of traffic.
    Bike paths in Taiwan are built for weekend recreational (family) riders and not for transportation.

  • tbv

    We don’t use the paths either, because we bike in other places. The exception is the trip out to Danshui, which we do once or twice a year. Oh, and the Xindian River Park, of course, we did it just this morning.
    Anyway, as you say, the bike paths are built for weekend recreational riders, so I’d rather say that I often see cyclists riding at dangerously fast speeds that makes it difficult to stop when when a child or a family out biking get in their way. It’s like in normal traffic: If everyone cruises along at 50km/h, it is dangerous to drive at 80km/h.

  • AK

    Either way. The tunnel from Fulong to Iilan is especially a hazard. People stop in the middle of a dark tunnel to take pictures and rest on their bikes. Even slow riders would find this dangerous.

  • tbv

    Wa! That’s crazy. That’s the Caoling Gudao, no? Never did that tunnel, although we passed by a couple of weeks ago on our way down to Daxi and Jiaoxi. I normally avoid tunnels like the plague, but we did go through the mountain out by the National Palace Museum yesterday.