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Published on : Sunday, November 10, 2013
The 2013 Taiwan Cycling Festival, organized by the Tourism Bureau under the Ministry of Transportation and Communications, will feature various travel events for people from all walks of life until Nov. 17. The eight-day bicycle fiesta is the direct result of Taiwan’s “cycling miracle” that has put LOHAS, an acronym for Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability, on everyone’s lips.
With these achievements in mind, Mayor Hau Lung-bin is right to push for Taipei’s bid to host the next “Velo-city Global”, an international planning conference planned to encourage cycling as part of daily transport and leisure. It would be the first time that such an international conference, which brings together those involved in policy, promotion and the provision of cycling facilities and programs, is held in an Asian city. Taipei’s bid would also be a positive sign that cycling is not a blind spot anymore in the region. Cycling is a significant mode of transportation that has a lot to offer to all cities and especially to congested and polluted ones across Asia. At the same time, Mayor Hau must keep in mind that Taipei still has a lot to achieve in order to vie for hosting the next biannual conference.
Present infrastructure may seem like paradise to those living in other Asian counties; we nevertheless need a next phase in infrastructure improvement and policies to align with bicycle-friendly countries in Europe. For additional growth, we need more space in our capital city, massive investments in bicycle parking, and safety measures for the growing groups of underage and elderly cyclists. We also want an increase in fast regional cycling routes for riders with the pedelec — a bicycle where the rider’s pedaling is assisted by a small electric motor — to cycle longer distances.