China Enforcing US$150 Fine For Unlicensed Electric Bicycle Users Starting This Week

China E-Bikes
The word Electric is pictured on an electric bicycle (Photo: Reuters)

China's transport authority previously announced that it will be raising the safety standards of all electric bicycles in the country. In line with the proclamation, authorities will only be allowing e-bikes with proper licenses and those that have passed inspection to be used in public.

According to local media, those who will be caught using unlicensed electric bicycles will be fined US$150 or 1,000 Yuan starting this week. Anyone caught using e-bicycles without a license or those who cannot present proof that they will be getting a license soon will be subject to the fine. China's Transport Bureau explained that those who can show proof of an upcoming appointment can avoid the punishment.

The strict implementation of the new rule has sparked mix reactions from citizens. Some users had taken to social media to complain about the hefty fine, while other applauded authorities in keeping people safer on the streets. One user on social media mentioned that the fine was enough to buy a new electric vehicle and that it was too expensive.

Reports have revealed that there are currently around 1 million unlicensed electric bicycles currently being used in Beijing. While some are qualified to become licensed vehicles, most actually do not meet the new national safety standards. The by-law that was passed last autumn indicated that those who continue to purchase, distribute, and use electric bicycles below the new standards will be facing hefty fines.

According to official figures, there were around 4 million electric bicycles being actively used in Beijing prior to the introduction of the new rule. Following the announcement of the new rule, around 900,000 bicycles have been licensed by their owners. Currently, more than 2 million electric bicycles have been registered.

Owners of unregistered vehicles were given until April 30 to apply for a temporary license. Temporary licenses given out by authorities will allow users to continue using their substandard electric bikes for three years, after which they will completely be banned from use in public. The ban on all electric bicycles with temporary licenses will take effect on October 31, 2021.

Meanwhile, some owners of substandard e-bicycles have chosen to scrap their current machines to buy newer and safer models.

Electric bicycles are a popular mode of transportation for millions of Chinese citizens. However, the proliferation of substandard products has caused some concerns in the country given that more than 9 percent of all traffic accidents since 2017 had involved people using electric bicycles. There are also concerns of possible fires and explosions, which were common with cheaply made models. China has so far cracked down on the industry, with manufacturers now being required to implement different safety systems to avoid overcharging and electrical accidents.   

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