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Capital plans crackdown on big, fast e-bikes

By Du Juan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-06-13 09:59
A woman rides an electric bike in Beijing. [Photo/China News Service]

Beijing's municipal legislature plans to revoke the business licenses of retailers found selling electric bikes that break speed and weight limits set by the government.

A draft regulation on the management of such vehicles that was discussed by the Beijing Municipal People's Congress on May 30 says the "authorities will publish a list of e-bikes that meet the national standards, which means those that fail to be put on the list should not be sold any longer in the city".

The city government plans to implement a range of measures to deal with the problem of fast, oversized e-bikes, which have been identified as a threat to public safety.

There were 31,000 traffic accidents involving e-bikes in Beijing in 2015, according to transport department data. They claimed the lives of 113 people, with 21,000 others injured.

Beijing has banned e-bikes that can travel over 25 kilometers per hour or that weigh more than 55 kilograms. However, many of the 4 million e-bikes on Beijing's roads exceed those limits, the department said.

To tackle the problem, the capital - which has about 1,000 e-bike retailers - will introduce tough measures to punish rule-breakers.

The draft regulation says that from July 1, businesses selling oversized bikes or helping customers to illegally modify vehicles will be stripped of their licenses.

Beijing authorities have been talking with e-bike retailers about the new regulation since mid-May, asking them to withdraw products that do not meet the standards.

The owners of e-bikes already on the road that do not meet the standards will be allowed to continue to use them for three years.

A Chaoyang district e-bike retailer surnamed Wang said some people still wanted to buy oversized models because they can be ridden further between recharges, even though they are limited for another three years.

"There will be more small, lighter e-bikes on the market in the future," he said. "People should choose well-known brands that have better insurance and safety standards."

The draft regulations establish a 15 km/h speed limit for e-bikes, and the police department and transport commission will set up speed limit signs. The draft also forbids the charging of e-bikes in residential buildings and emergency exits.

Substandard bikes and malfunctioning charging units can cause fires, the capital's fire department has warned.

With the number of e-bikes having grown rapidly in recent years, several fatal fires caused by e-bike charging have attracted a lot of attention. In December, five people died in a fire caused by e-bike charging in a crowded residential building in Chaoyang district. In April, another fire, which started in an e-bike store in Haidian district, claimed four lives.

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