There are currently 490,000 electric bikes on Taiwan's roads. There are no age restrictions on users, but the Jing Chuan Child Safety Foundation warns that the number of adolescent electric bike users getting into accidents is growing exponentially. It urges the Legislative Yuan to amend laws to set a minimum driving age, and require mandatory insurance and license plates.
A student surnamed Chu was invited to attend a press conference at the Legislative Yuan in Taipei and demonstrated how to ride an electric bike. She said she lives in Hualien, where there aren't many public transportation options. Moreover, the places she needs to go are often far away from each other. She says many students in Hualien ride electric bikes but not all of them are familiar with traffic regulations.
Some people are in a rush, so they say it doesn't matter if they disregard safety regulations.
Meanwhile, a student surnamed Chiu was previously hit while riding an electric bike. She says driver's licenses should be issued for electric bike use to guarantee everyone's safety.
There should be tests to determine if these people are capable of using the roads.
The number of accidents involving electric bikes is increasing. Statistics show that there were over 3,000 such accidents in 2019, and 2,679 people were injured or killed. Of that number, adolescents aged 15 to 17 accounted for 16 percent. During the past four years, the number of adolescent casualties has grown 2.69-fold. A Jing Chuan Child Safety Foundation survey found that many users modify their bikes to increase the top speed past 25 kilometers per hour, increasing the risk of accidents.
It often happens that when people go to buy electric bikes, the sellers ask them if they want to modify the top speed. That means that in reality, there are no speed limits. It's no wonder then that there are so many casualties.
It's true that we need to make up for the deficiencies, including setting age restrictions and requiring license plates and insurance. The amendments for the deficient areas have probably passed the first reading.
The foundation adds it will continue pushing for laws to be amended to set age limits. In other countries, the minimum driving age ranges from 14 to 16. The foundation says Taiwan needs to set a standard because the current situation of allowing people aged zero to 100 to ride is unacceptable.