One of the more interesting aspects of living in Taipei are the periodic campaigns by the city to impose order on the city's joyfully anarchic residents. Past campaigns have targeted betel nut chewers, and pedestrians who refused to ascend overpasses or descend into fetid, often flooded underpasses intended to keep them off the roads. Jaywalkers had to endure classes that combined Confucian exhortations to virtue with a series of gruesome photos of traffic fatalities. This time, the target is cyclists - who have stubbornly and inexplicably increased in numbers over the past few years despite decades of efforts to drive them off the streets forever. Starting in October, the city's traffic police will fine cyclists who venture into parks, run red lights or ride the wrong way down one-way streets. But no cyclists will be ticketed for riding on the city's pavements, since that might force them into the roads - which are far too dangerous for bicycles, the police assume. The police cite figures that supposedly justify their latest campaign. There have been 1,624 bicycle accidents since 2003, and the police say scofflaw cyclists are to blame for most of them. They fail to note that cycling is far safer than riding a scooter or walking: just eight people were killed in bicycle accidents in 2003, while 28 pedestrians and 42 scooter riders were killed. But Taipei is surprisingly bicycle-friendly despite its badly snarled traffic. Drivers are accustomed to driving beside the slower bicycles and, off the main boulevards, Taipei is a compact city of lanes and alleys that carry little traffic. Even on main roads, the broad, tree-lined pavements provide excellent if technically illegal bike lanes. And the city has built more than 90km of bike paths along the rivers. Unfortunately, this network of paths is typical of common glitches that affect public projects in Taiwan. For one thing, it is poorly maintained. Taiwanese governments at all levels tend to be good at building infrastructure, but rarely plan or fund their maintenance. For another, it is simply bad policy: Taipei's transport department sees cycling as a recreation, so it tries to funnel cyclists off the roads and onto the bike paths. This is probably the real reason for the anti-bike campaign. Fortunately, Taipei's police generally announce these campaigns with a great deal of fanfare, then end them quietly a few weeks later. That would be good timing now, because the cool, dry months of late autumn is the best time of year to ride through Taipei's backstreets, blooming with bougainvillea, across Daan Forest Park and out into the tea plantations above the city's southern rim.