The Taipei Times published an article today concerning the influx of commuters in the wake of rising energy costs, and more importantly on the problems that still face Taiwanese commuters despite the NT$870 million allocated for bicycle infrastructure in 2011.
Some netizens scoffed at the idea, saying that the government was unfriendly to bikers and that saving NT$60 per day on fuel while spending more on lunch was not a good tradeoff. However, netizens who have already begun to commute to work by bike said they enjoyed the health benefits.
The article points to some companies that have taken the initiative by providing facilities for cyclists. Rather than paving more leisure trails for visitors and tourists, the government might want to allocate part of the budget for offering to subsidize the installation of facilities that promote cycling to work.
One anonymous staff member at an e-commerce firm said his company encouraged its employees to bike to work, adding that it had set up shower stalls equipped with free toiletries and hair dryers.
This is really the crux of the issue. Taiwan's streets are still too dangerous for most cyclists to want to navigate on a regular basis. To make the sweeping changes necessary to make cycling a safe and effective alternative to the automobile, someone is going to have to start making some politically unpopular decisions.
An editorial in the Taipei Times echoes many of my sentiments. Read It HERE