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Electric Bike Regulations in China: What’s New?

Posted by: Zhorea Garcia
Category: Regulations
Electric Bike Regulations in China What's New

Driving an electric bike or e-bike in China is probably the best way for foreigners to get around cities in China. E-bikes are easier to drive around town, more affordable, and more convenient for short-distance travel. However, Chinese law requires all foreigners as well as local citizens to register their e-bikes in order to drive them legally.

Read our previous post about How to Legally Drive an E-bike in China

China’s e-bike regulations may vary according to the implementing rules of every local government. In this article, we will look into major updates from four major cities including Shanghai, Beijing, Shenzhen, and Guangzhou. So, keep reading!

Regulations for driving an electric bike in four major cities

Shanghai: Update on the new allowable e-bike models

The Shanghai government and other relevant departments released an additional list of e-bike models that fall under the national standards. It added 484 types of vehicles to the catalog and made changes to the technical requirement of 39 types of e-bike models. The updated list of e-bike models can be found in the official notice here.

Beijing: Penalties for non-registration of e-bikes

On November 1, 2018, the Beijing government announced that riders of unlicensed e-bikes could get a fine of RMB 1000 (USD 150). However, the authorities gave a grace period until April 30, 2019, until it was officially imposed on May 1, 2019. On the other hand, those with a temporary license could drive their e-bikes until October 31, 2021.

Besides, the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau also encouraged e-bike owners to use the traffic police app to quickly check compliance and register for permits.

Shenzhen: New rules on yellow transitional signs

The Shenzhen Traffic Police along with the Bao’an and Guangming district authorities launched a pilot program for the registration of two-wheeler e-bikes. Moreover, it also issued permits to a total of 523,100 electric vehicles in the city.

E-bike license in Shenzhen is normally issued with either a white or yellow label. The white label refers to licensed e-bikes that meet the national safety standards. E-bikes with the yellow label do not meet the mandatory requirement for safety but were given a transitional period until December 31, 2021.

However, authorities later announced that two-wheeler e-bikes under the yellow label can no longer extend permits beginning June 15. Thus, it will affect e-bikes that do not meet the standard, particularly in Bao’an and Guangming districts.

Meanwhile, owners of e-bikes with a household ID card or residence permit and compliant with the national standards can register their two-wheeler vehicle.

Guangzhou: Ban on e-bikes remains

Since 2016, the local government of Guangzhou has prohibited the use of e-bikes and non-motor vehicles. But it exempts motorized wheelchairs used for disabled persons. Hence, e-bike owners may face penalties if found driving their e-bikes in the downtown districts.

Recently, a municipal official has recommended creating a new system for e-bike licensing instead of banning them. According to the report, more and more citizens demand their rights to use e-bikes on the roads. Thus, the Guangzhou official laid out the initiative to first pilot the registration in a few selected communities or districts.

New electric bike regulation nationwide?

On June 1, 2020, China launched a “One Helmet, One Belt” campaign that targeted bike and car owners. It introduced a new regulation requiring the use of helmets and seatbelts, or drivers will be fined otherwise. However, the Ministry of Public Security’s Traffic Management Bureau clarified that e-bike riders are not covered by the said penalty. To note, the new policy has led to a surge of helmet prices after it garnered wide attention in Chinese social media. Internet users have used the hashtag “helmet price increased” to emphasize the supposed effect of the new rule.

E-bike riders also faced restrictions due to the COVID-19 outbreak. For example, the local governments of  Shenzhen, Foshan, and Dongguan have restricted e-bikers from driving along the city center for the time being.

Advantages of registering your e-bike

Registering your e-bikes have further advantages aside from getting away with hefty penalties. It does limit unfortunate situations that foreigners may find hard to deal with while they are in China.

Here are the following advantages of legally owning an electric bike:

  • Avoiding the risk of theft or loss of electric bicycles
  • Getting protection under China’s law on vehicle ownership
  • Availing insurance in case of traffic accidents

Conclusion

The use of e-bikes in China continues to grow as more people see it as a low-cost mode of transportation and are easy to park aside. Besides, driving e-bikes is also an adequate and comfortable way for middle-class employees to commute to work.

There are about 200 million e-bikes in China and the mounting number may push authorities to enforce stricter regulations. This is because e-bikes are also increasingly causing more fatalities and tendencies to break traffic rules. Thus, China has recently implemented more rules that limit the speed (less than 25km/h) and the weight of e-bikes (less than 55kg).

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Author: Zhorea Garcia

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