TAIPEI - Bicyclists will be included in police road checks, as the slew of annual year-end dinner parties begins, said the Taipei City Police Department's Traffic Division yesterday.
Police in Taipei stopped vehicles, scooters and bicyclists at random checkpoints on Chang An East Road on Saturday night. The street was chosen for the checkpoint due to its popular string of stir-fry restaurants that provide beer. The street was roped off for the check.
According to the Taipei City Police Department, companies all over Taiwan have been holding year-end celebrations recently, and even more are consuming hot pot dishes with rice wine as the temperature dropped over the last few weeks. As such, the police will be on higher alert for cases of drunk driving.
Over 400 policemen were dispatched on Saturday night and spread out through Zhongshan, Daan, Wanhua and Tatung districts, checking for drunk driving and cycling until 4:00 a.m. on Sunday.
After the Road Traffic Management and Penalty Act was amended, drunk cyclists can face a fine of up to NT$1,200 (S$50) if they deny sobriety tests; if the tests prove them to be intoxicated, they may be fined anywhere from NT$300 to NT$600. The police reported that they would not normally stop vehicles randomly, but Saturday was a special case.
Cyclists were reported to support the police's random road checks on Chang An East Road after overcoming their surprise, as drunk cyclists would be putting themselves in danger. One of the cyclists noted that the NT$600 fine would not be enough to drill the lesson into the minds of the younger generation.
There have been 40 incidents of drunk cycling from January to November 2013, all of whom were fined on the spot at road checks, said division deputy captain Lin Chi-tien.
Large-scale Checks Until Jan. 27
The random sobriety tests will last until Jan. 27, 2014, just days before Chinese New Year, and will mainly focus on areas densely populated with bars, nightclubs and restaurants that are party favorites, the Taipei City Police Department said.
Police departments in all counties and cities will conduct at least eight random sobriety tests from Dec. 28 to Jan. 27. The Taipei City Police Department reminded the public that they should stick to the "Drink but Not Drive, Drive but Not Drink" rule and call taxicabs or a designated driver to return home.