Heavy-duty bikes to get trial run on freeways

The China Post news staff

Heavy-duty motorbikes with engine displacements of over 550 cc will be allowed to run on designated national freeways once a set of amendments to the Road Transport Act clear the legislative floor, according to transportation officials.

The amendments yesterday passed the first reading by the Transportation Committee of the Legislative Yuan, allowing riders of heavy-duty motorbikes to use national freeways, in addition to expressways.

At the committee meeting, Lawmaker Wang Hsing-nan of the opposition Democratic Progressive Party asserted that there are an increasing number of people riding heavy-duty motorbikes and allowing proper road rights for them by lifting the ban on their riding on freeways is a must.

In response, Vice Minister Yeh Kuang-shih said that after the revisions to the Road Transport Act is ratified, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications (MOTC) has worked out a preliminary plan to implement the liberalization measure on a trial basis.

Under the plan, heavy-duty motorbikes will be allowed to run on the No. 6 and No. 8 freeways on weekends and holidays for a trial period of six months to one year. The No. 6 freeway starts from Wifeng District of Taichung City to Puli Township of Natou County, central Taiwan, spanning 37.6 kilometers; and the No. 8 freeways runs from Tainan to Xinhua, Tainan City of southern Taiwan, for a distance of 15.5 kilometers.

Yeh said that during the trial implementation period, riders of heavy-duty motorbikes will be banned from carrying any passengers in the back seats. Based in the revisions to the Road Transport Act, riders allowed to run on freeways will be required to have obtained heavy-duty motorbike driving licenses for over one year, as well as car driving licenses.

Violators of relevant traffic rules will be subject fines of over NT$3,000 and under NT$6,000.

After the trial implementation period expires, the MOTC will review the liberalization scheme and then consider whether to further liberalize freeway usage by riders of heavy-duty motorbikes, according to Yeh.