Topic: Maybe This Time, the Bikes Won’t End Up in the River
In 2013, Rome pulled the plug on its bike share program after it ran out of money and cars kept double-parking in front of its bike racks. Last year, a Hong Kong company gave up after many of its green bicycles ended up in the Tiber river. Months later, a Singapore company bailed after Romans stole the yellow bikes and broke them down for parts.
Rome has been a bike share wasteland, but Uber says things will be different for the shiny new red bikes it has introduced all over the city.
“We’ve tested ours on Rome’s cobblestones,” said Michele Biggi, manager of Uber’s Jump electric-bike program in southwestern Europe, who added that previous competitors’ bikes weren’t up to the city’s demands and “could have fallen down with just a gust of wind.”
He has big plans for the Uber bikes, he said, which “will change Rome and give the city a new lifeblood.”
Uber and its competitors have already introduced similar pedal-assisted bikes and electric scooters in Paris; London; Lisbon, Portugal; Brussels and other cities that in several cases are overrun with rolling menaces. (Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, has decried “the scooter anarchy.”) But Rome, the first Italian city to get Uber’s electric-bicycle service, is not any other European city.
Rome could be a bike-share dream in one respect: There is no shortage of demand. The city has only two finished subway lines (a third is perennially under construction), and buses come late, fail to show up and occasionally explode.
Driving on the city’s notoriously clogged streets is a nightmare. Parking is worse.
But the obstacles to a bike share program are daunting: Rome’s infamous potholes, its mounds of uncollected trash, double-parked cars, a strong vandal spirit in place since the actual Vandals sacked Rome, and a local resistance to change and physical exertion.
Rome’s embattled mayor, Virginia Raggi, urged Romans to show that the city is civilized after all.
The company is introducing a fleet of 2,800 bicycles that can be left practically anywhere, and they seem to be everywhere.
But not all Romans are fans. “Rome Is Gross” a well-known social media feed decrying the city’s degradation, has posted complaints about the high price of the Uber bikes, which cost 50 cents to unlock and then 20 cents for every minute of use. That is about the rate charged by car-sharing services.
Ben Weyts, minister of mobility for the Dutch-speaking region of Flanders, unveiled a plan to invest 300 million euros （$320 million） in cycle lanes until 2019, as part of a wider program to promote alternative modes of transport.
"We left the bike in racks at the station and locked it," a spokesman for the minister said. "When we got back half an hour later, it was gone."
While Belgium is a country obsessed with cycling as a sport, cars are the main method of commuting to work, leading to some of the worst road congestion in Europe.
The minister had to call his driver to pick him up from the station in Halle, just south of Brussels, the spokesman said, and hoped police would discover the bicycle thief with the help of security camera footage.
Topic: Bicycle helmets can prevent injury and death
While riding a bicycle in New Taipei City’s Tamsui District on Oct. 15, author Chen Ro-jinn was hit from behind by a scooter courier. Chen was alive when paramedics arrived but she was unconscious and had a fractured skull. After being taken to hospital, she died of her injuries on Monday last week at the age of 57.
At present, Taiwan has no legal requirement for bicyclists to wear helmets, but the Ministry of Health and Welfare’s Health Promotion Administration (HPA) has in the past called, as well as mandatory wearing of helmets by motorcycle and scooter riders, for cyclists to also take safety seriously and put on a cycle helmet when riding on the road.
The HPA says people often wrongly believe that because bicycles are human-powered they must be safer than motor vehicles. What they fail to consider is that bicycles and motorized vehicles do not have separate lanes, and bicycles lack protective structures, making cyclists prone to physical injury in the event of a crash, especially during rush hour.
According to a 2016 study by Taipei Medical University, the number of bicycle accidents in Taiwan grew from 7,213 in 2005 to 14,874 in 2013, and the proportion of bicycle accident deaths among all traffic accident deaths grew from 3.55 percent to 6.74 percent. The likelihood of an accident resulting in death, coma or disability was 2.4 times higher for those who did not wear a helmet while cycling than for those who did. 20.7 percent of those who did not wear helmets were in moderate to severe condition when they were admitted to hospital, compared to 2.3 percent of those who wore helmets. Those wore helmets stayed for fewer days in hospital than those who did not.
There are geographical and age differences in bicycle accidents. In urban areas, more accidents occur during commuting periods, whereas in rural areas the accident rate is higher in the afternoon. The number of bicycle accident patients with moderate to severe head trauma is about 3.2 times higher among those aged 65 years or older than those under 18 years old.
The HPA says that the number of deaths due to head trauma in motorcycle accidents in Taiwan fell sharply after the 1997 passage of a law mandating wearing a helmet when riding motorcycles and scooters. In contrast, in recent years, with the trend of saving energy and reducing carbon emissions, more and more people are riding bicycles, but most of them have not gotten into the habit of wearing helmets, so when an accident happens it can easily cause irreparable damage and regret.