Streets, roads and sidewalks in Taipei are full of two wheels. 36,8% of commuters actually use their own two wheels (33,8% public transit; 18,7% car; in 2009). However, “two wheels” mainly correspond to a motorcycle (34%) and only very few use actual bikes (2,8%). This can easily be noticed at each traffic intersection in Taipei.
Efforts have been done by the municipality to promote bikes for commuting. One of the recent examples is the introduction of a bike sharing system, “YouBike”. 11 stations can be found in the Xinyi district, the international business and shopping district of the capital city. Geographically limited, only few people are actually riding a YouBike (mostly tourists). Stations indeed do not look very busy. The system is pretty user friendly though: a public transport card allows access to rent a bike and the first half hour is free.
High concentrations of bikes can nonetheless be found at specific locations throughout Taipei. It is easy to guess where universities are located: an high concentration of bikes is indeed very likely to be linked with the proximity of a university.
In parallel, it is worth mentioning efforts made by the municipality to control the number of scooters. For instance, scooters parked outside their dedicated parking areas are more strictly punished than in the past. Many of them also park tend to use sidewalks as parking space, making life for pedestrians a bit more adventurous.
This post comes to us from Julien Grunfelder, a fellow PhD student at the University of Copenhagen.