With the number of e-bikes increasing, a stampede of e-bikes can be seen winding and darting through Hainan’s traffic, much to the annoyance of car drivers. They overcrowd sidewalks and spaces not meant for them, becoming a pest to and sometimes detriment of the general public and authorities. Additionally there have been fatal accidents involving e-bikes, a loss to everyone involved. It is therefore no surprise that the provincial government has recently announced a whole swath of sweeping measures to regulate the manufacture, safety, management and registration of e-bikes.
The Electric Bicycle Administration Regulations, decreed by the Hainan Provincial People’s Government on June 1, 2020, has been drafted to address a range of problems surrounding e-bikes. It will come into effect on January 1, 2022.
We’ve read through this very long set of regulations and picked out some key points for our e-bike-riding readers out there. Take note of the summary below.
The days of dangerous kid joy-riding are finally coming to an end. Image via Sanya HiNews
Key Takeaways for Current and Future E-bike Owners:
All e-bikes will be required to be registered by their owners with the Public Security Traffic Management Department. This will be free of charge and e-bike vendors are encouraged to assist with registration. Newly-purchased e-bikes, can be ridden on public roads for up to 30 days from purchase provided you can show the original official vehicle purchase receipt.
Owners will be issued with a license plate and vehicle registration license for their e-bike. The license plate should be affixed in the correct position on the e-bike and should not be obscured or defaced. The owner should carry the vehicle registration license with them. According to the regulations, this could actually be a digital license viewable through a smartphone app.
New e-bikes that don’t meet mandatory national standards, have been modified or assembled from parts post-production can’t be registered. E-bikes on the road before these regulations come into effect that don’t meet mandatory national standards will be issued with a temporary license plate that will be valid for up to five years, following which the e-bike may not continue to be ridden on public roads. Riding an e-bike that was registered then subsequently modified or re-assembled is an offence and the rider may be fined RMB200. If the offending bike is not restored to its original condition and subsequently discovered as being modified, it may be impounded by the authorities.
Modifications range from mundane things like adding a rain shield or flares to your e-bike to major changes like switching out the motor or removing the mirrors. Things like decals and replacement pedals are fine.
Owners are strongly encouraged to take out third-party liability and rider injury insurance.
It’s illegal to use forged license plates or plates lifted from another e-bike. Doing so may incur a RMB200 fine.
Time to brush up on the rules of the road! E-bike riders are expected to follow the same traffic laws as motor-vehicle drivers. This includes stopping at red lights and pedestrian crossings, using indicators when making turns and using the headlamps at night or during inclement weather. Additionally, e-bike riders are expected to use non-motorized vehicle lanes to the right-hand side of the road where there is one, or else to stay on the right of the main carriageway unless making a left-hand turn.
With mandatory registration and plates for e-bikes, traffic cameras will now be able to turn their eagle-eyes towards e-bikes. The traffic management department will hold e-bike traffic offenses to the same standards as those that apply to motor vehicles. If you commit a traffic offense, you will be notified via text to your registered phone number. Failure to go to the Traffic Management Department within 30 days to deal with it could mean your e-bike might get impounded.
Wearing helmets is mandatory for both rider and passenger. Helmets save lives.
E-bikes must be parked or stowed in designated areas and not block roads, non-motor vehicle lanes, train tracks, sidewalks, walkways for the blind, public access passageways and areas, stairwells or fire and evacuation routes.
No taking e-bikes into passenger elevators.
E-bike riders must be over the age of 16, and can only carry a single passenger seated directly behind the rider, provided the rider is over the age of 18. Passengers aged 6 and below should be seated in a child-safety seat.
No riding an e-bike under the influence of alcohol or drugs that impair the ability to drive.
No riding an e-bike on national, provincial or urban expressways, flyovers and overpasses without non-motor vehicle lanes or areas where e-bikes are restricted.
Don’t do anything that would require you to remove one or both hands from the handlebars and impact riding safety such as smoking, eating or using your phone or other device.
Remember news about electric cars bursting into flames in underground parking garages, often causing devastation? For precisely this reason, e-bikes should be charged at collective charging points that have built-in safety features. It is specifically forbidden to charge e-bikes indoors outside of a designated charging area.
Umbrellas for bikes will see their last days also. Image via Baidu
Manufacturers, e-bike vendors and e-bike repair shops are also being put under greater scrutiny, with the respective links in the chain expected to ensure that the required mandatory national standards are met during production, that bikes sold meet these standards and that no illegal modifications or re-assembly happens. The penalties for not following the law in these cases are severe.
Consumers will also be protected, with vendors obliged to refund or replace newly purchased bikes that do not meet mandatory standards or have product defects.
Improved Infrastructure for E-bikes:
Governments at all levels are now mandated to add bike lanes to their existing roads and plan for bike lanes on new roads. Furthermore, existing bike lanes cannot be repurposed for additional road capacity or car parking space.
In work places, public facilities and government offices are expected to add more e-bike parking spaces and build charging stations, with future office, housing and government buildings required to plan for adequate e-bike parking and charging capacity.
Existing charging infrastructure will be inspected to check if they meet the required fire safety standards. Those that do not meet those standards will be required to upgrade their infrastructure. Going forward, all charging points must meet the required standards.
In addition to the summary above, there are many other minutiae regulations which largely don’t apply to the everyday e-bike user.
READ MORE: How Shared Bikes are Being Reused in the PRC
Based in Qionghai, David is new to Hainan, having spent the past 13 years adrift on the Chinese mainland and in Hong Kong. He arrived back in 2007 to study Chinese Language and Literature at Nanjing University. After graduation, he ended up in Hong Kong, then Shanghai, working as an educator and on/off translator for nine years. He can’t wait to meet more people and make Hainan his home.
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