Taiwan’s round-island cycling network

Building an islandwide bike path network not only fosters an environment for recreational exercise but also promotes Taiwan’s scenic spots, spurs industrial development and brings prosperity to local economies.
Taiwanese Ministry of Education’s (MOE) is working on a project to link bicycle lanes around Taiwan. The total length of bike paths has grown from 900 kilometers in 2008 to nearly 4,500 kilometers today, and is expected to reach 5,000 kilometers when the islandwide network is completed by year-end.
In addition to the paths, it is important to build rest stops for cyclists, provide bicycle-friendly transportation facilities, and promote bike-rental systems for scenic spots, the premier said.
During his term as transportation minister, Taiwanese Premier Mao, Chi-kuo, recalled, his principle for laying bike paths was “east before west, and leisure before commuting.” Hence, Provincial Highways No. 9 and No. 11 in eastern Taiwan were the first major roads to have exclusive bike lanes. The government also rolled out cyclist-friendly train services and allowed travelers to rent and return bikes at different stations.
Mao thanked the MOI for offering police stations as “pit stops” where cyclists can inflate their tires, get simple repairs and even take showers. This model, already replicated across Taiwan, has been fundamental in promoting bicycling westward and to the rest of the island.
As for the “leisure before commuting” idea, Premier Mao said it was easier to promote cycling for leisure than for commuting purposes. Yet, Taipei and other municipalities have been successful in making the two-wheeler a popular commuting option. He hopes to see the bike-friendly infrastructure improve even more. Specifically, government agencies should come up with specific principles for reserving urban roadways for cyclists, pedestrians or both. Promoting bikes as a transportation tool will open up more opportunities in the commuting market.
The MOE said it began promoting the islandwide network in 2013 to create a recreational exercise environment while promoting cycling as a sport. The MOE is working with the MOTC to link existing bike paths with numerous round-island motorcycle routes and to alleviate bottleneck sections. The two agencies are also actively cooperating to resolve difficulties at the points where paths end.
Source: http://www.ey.gov.tw/en/News_Content2.aspx?n=1C6028CA080A27B3&sms=E0588283EFAA02AD&s=97C2D7A010F6DE05


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