Taipei, March 19 (CNA) Taipei's public bike policy has been successful, but the city needs to build more bike paths to further improve the public transportation network, Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je (柯文哲) said Thursday.
Former Mayor Hau Lung-bin's (郝龍斌) YouBike public bike rental system policy has been a great success and the riverside bike trails along the Tamsui, Xindian and Keelung rivers, have developed quite well. "I like them and have ridden on each and every one of them," said Ko.
The system currently has some 260 automated rental stations in Taipei and New Taipei and is popular with citizens and visitors alike.
However, the riverside bike trails are generally on the border between Taipei and New Taipei or on the outskirts of Taipei, and most main roads within the city itself have no bike paths, forcing cyclists to use the sidewalks or brave the city road traffic.
The mayor, who is a former head of the Traumatology Department at National Taiwan University Hospital, said he knows well about the kinds of injuries faced by cyclists when they have to share the roads with heavier vehicles. Building a safe cycling environment is important but establishing an expanded bike path system needs time and budget, he added.
The objective of the first stage of his plan will be to build bike paths on all roads that are 40 meters or more wide, Ko said at the Asian Cycling Forum 2015 in Taipei.
According to Chung Hui-yu (鍾慧瑜), head of the Taipei Transportation Department, the city will spend NT$4 billion (US$127.12 million) to build YouBike bike paths over four years.
King Liu (劉金標), the founder and chairman of Giant Manufacturing Co. Ltd. which operates the YouBike system, said at the forum that the company will fully support the city's policy.
(By Esme Jiang and Kuo Chung-han)ENDITEM/J