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Heavy-duty motorcyclists taking steps to change image

2012/09/12 18:32:39

Taipei, Sept. 12 (CNA) Nearly 100 heavy-duty motorcyclists vowed Wednesday to reshape their image by riding to visit charity organizations and tourists sites every month, amid public opposition to allowing their bikes on freeways.

Instead of holding demonstrations to fight for their rights, members of the 21st Century Motorcade said, they have decided on a softer approach to give a more accurate view of their lifestyle.

"We want the public to know that we are not crazy racers who love trouble," said Chen Chien-tsung, chairman of the group that was launched Wednesday.

Chen said his group will start by visiting children's homes in Keelung and Hsinchu cities in northern Taiwan and offering the children free rides.

The bikers will also travel to various scenic spots across the country, including Sun Moon Lake and Shei-Pa National Park in central Taiwan, to demonstrate how tourists can enjoy sightseeing by heavy bikes, he said.

Another member of the group, Wu Pei-yu, said she hoped the campaign would promote heavy-duty motorcycle safety and improve the image of bikers.

"We just enjoy very much the feeling of taking a road trip on an open vehicle," she said.

Wu and other bikers like her do not yet have access to Taiwan's freeways although a law amendment was passed in the Legislature last year to allow bikes 550cc and over on such roads.

The transport ministry said the law cannot take effect unless it is approved by the country's local governments, who have so far not supported it because of safety concerns.

A total of 28,000 heavy-duty motorcycles are registered in Taiwan, according to data from the transport ministry.

(By Lee Hsin-Yin)