Fancy a Helmet with that YouBike?

Fancy a Helmet with that YouBike?
Photo Credit: Corbis/達志影像

What you need to know

Would you miss the feeling of wind blowing through your hair as you cruise the streets of Taipei?

Taiwan should require all cyclists to wear a helmet, according to an opposition legislator who today proposed a new law that could make it illegal to ride without a helmet.

Taiwan’s public bike sharing system, YouBike, is extremely popular with hundreds of thousands of people regularly using the system across the island-nation. According to the BBC, Taipei City alone saw 22 million rentals in 2014 and new rental stations continue to be rolled-out.

According to Storm Media, there were about 430 accidents on YouBike’s in 2016, implying an accident rate of one in every 100,000 rides.

The suggested law change came from Kuomintang (KMT) legislator Huang Chao-shun (黃昭順), who today has proposed to amend the country’s infrastructure law.

However, the proposal does not appear to have the complete backing of Huang’s party, with other legislators questioning whether the restriction would hit the use of public bicycles in Taiwan, according to local Chinese-language media reports.

Globally, the helmet debate has become a contentious issue.

According to online data, Australia and New Zealand are the only countries where the national governments have made it illegal to cycle without a helmet among people of all ages. Many other countries, however, do have laws requiring children wear helmets, although regulation is often carried out at local government level. In the U.S., dozens of states and hundreds of local jurisdictions require the wearing of helmets, particularly for children.

Editor: Edward White