A man attaches a license plate to an electric scooter in Kaohsiung yesterday. Photo: Huang Liang-chieh, Taipei Times

NEW STATUS: The speed limit for 'mini electric two-wheel vehicles' is now 25kph, the revised Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act stipulates  

/ Staff writer, with CNA

Owners of electric bicycles would be required to register their bike, obtain a license plate and buy insurance before using public roads, as revisions to traffic rules covering the bikes took effect yesterday.

The revisions to the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act designate e-bikes as “mini electric two-wheel vehicles” that cannot be operated without a license plate.

E-bike owners would have to formally register their vehicle and purchase at least three years of compulsory automobile liability insurance at a cost of at least NT$1,358 for a newly purchased bike. Previously bought vehicles can be operated with shorter insurance edin cover. the past year, for instance, would require two years of coverage for at least NT$971.

For e-bikes purchased before Nov. 1, owners would have a grace period of two years to register and buy insurance.

There are about 200,000 e-bikes in Taiwan, and owners who fail to register them would be subject to fines of NT$1,200 to NT$3,600 and be barred from using them.

The minimum age for riding an e-bike is 14. Riders must wear a helmet and the speed limit is 25kph.

E-bike riders are also forbidden to carry passengers, make unauthorized modifications, or ride them on sidewalks or regular bike lanes, except in riverside parks.

The new regulations came after an increase in the number of crashes involving e-bikes and concerns that they pose a heightened risk to minors, lawmakers have said.

Experts have said that the new legal status for e-bikes would also clarify what owners would be eligible to if their bike is stolen and help the vehicles find a market niche.

Ko Chun-pin, chairman of the Taiwan Transportation Vehicle Manufacturers' Association's motorcycle manufacturing division, said the government might provide subsidies for e-bikes as part of its campaign to promote environmentally friendly vehicles.

Taiwanese firms manufacture a combined 80,000 to 100,000 e-bikes each year, with about 80 percent of them being sold to migrant workers, Ko said.

News source: TAIPEI TIMES