Alvin In The Room: Journal

Cycling in Taiwan

A mum riding bikes with her two daughters

A mum riding bikes with her two daughters

There are good bike share systems in Taipei and Taichung city, so that you can get a bike almost everywhere. However, bike lanes are always absent and you have to ride on the road with faster motorbikes, automobiles and buses. Sometimes it is dangerous as the drivers don’t consider other road users. Some drivers park their cars as they like, blocking the roads for bike users. Yes, people can cycle on the road by law, but the space is not usually that friendly to the use. Some citizens say we have no clue to improve the situation because of limitations in the city like narrow roads which do not have space to include bike lanes, but I believe design mindset can allow some breakthroughs.

I met a mum with two daughters on the road, cycling with their own helmets. Most people regard riding bikes there is dangerous and avoid doing that. Risk prevention is sometimes a pessimistic bias because getting rid of it is impossible. Learning how to cope with, or live with the risk, is always the best solution. The family shows a good example. They rode together slowly with safety measures while understanding traffic conditions and rules. 

Even though cycling in Taiwan is a bit dangerous, I still did it when I visited there. I don’t think I am brave, but I need to make more careful observations. Humans tend to avoid risks in order to protect themselves. However when you are successful in preventing one thing, you will have to face another accident. You will lose fun in life too. To safeguard yourself better, you need to learn to observe and analyzing the surroundings.

The bike I rode in Taichung

The bike I rode in Taichung

台北、台中的bike share很完善,但租車站附近不一定有單車徑或自行車道配合,絕大部分的情況下,都要與機車、汽車甚至巴士一同在路上。如果遇上左穿右插的機車手,的確有點危險。有些汽車司機亂泊車,也讓單車使用者在路上沒有安全感。單車的路權除了法律的層面(香港任何地方皆可騎腳踏車)外,道路設計是否對他們友善也是需要考慮的地方。路窄或城市高度成熟並不是借口,因為設計思考可以打破常規。

遇上上圖的三母女在馬路上騎車,也許本身在騎單車純粹是習慣而已,但是對於年紀還小的她們,在一般人視為危險的路上是一個很好的學習機會。很多人從小就去避險,雖然真的沒遇上意外,但對於日後解難能力影響甚鉅。在馬路上的確有風險,但不是必死無疑那種。最好的方法,就是跟他們一起,附有適當的安全裝備,讓他們懂得留意路況及掌握交通規則。因為類似事情,其實長大後都要面對。如不從小開始,長大後更難起步,學習時間比在小孩時更長。(我自己已經是例子了)

所以當我決定幾乎每天都靠YouBike或iBike通勤,並不是心口只有勇字。畢竟也需要多點觀察其他司機的舉動、留心尾隨機車聲響、車速不要太快寧願讓後面的車先行。當然有更多要注意的地方,但是世界上幾乎所有事情都有風險的,迴避是本能,但是分析哪方面安危卻是最全面保護自己的方式,因為把自己關起來,不但錯過無趣的生活而且最終都會有其他方面的意外。 
 

iBike in Taichung city

iBike in Taichung city