Beijing to ban electric bikes on 10 major roads

Last year, 113 people died in traffic accidents caused by electric bikes in Beijing.
Last year, 113 people died in traffic accidents caused by electric bikes in Beijing. PHOTO: ST FILE

BEIJING • Starting next week, electric bikes will be banned on 10 major roads in the Chinese capital following a similar ban in the southern city of Shenzhen.

The affected roads experience heavy traffic and higher accident rates and often do not have bicycle lanes, according to Chinese media. They include the extended Chang'an Avenue, Beijing's main thoroughfare, and several roads around Tiananmen Square in the heart of the city.

"The ban is just a start," an official from the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau told the Global Times on Tuesday without giving further details.

Statistics given by the bureau showed that last year 113 people died and 21,423 were injured in 31,404 traffic accidents caused by electric bikes in Beijing.

In late March, a similar ban on electric bikes in Shenzhen drew many complaints from e-commerce and delivery companies.

More than 800 riders have been arrested and nearly 18,000 vehicles impounded since the crackdown started on March 21, Shenzhen traffic police said.

Food and express delivery companies in Shenzhen rely on electric bikes for 80 per cent of their deliveries. In Beijing, over 90 per cent of restaurants that offer food delivery services online make deliveries using electric bikes.

Delivery companies in Shenzhen said they could send out couriers only in the early morning and late at night, outside the working hours of the traffic police, to avoid them being caught, reported the South China Morning Post.

More than 800 riders have been arrested and nearly 18,000 vehicles impounded since the crackdown started on March 21, Shenzhen traffic police said.

The ban reportedly led to the resignation of about 1,000 couriers, who feared they would be detained or fined by their employers for failing to complete their workloads.

A similar ban was imposed in Xi'an, the capital of north-west China's Shaanxi province, in 2006, followed by cities including Haikou in south China's Hainan province and Wuhan in Hubei province.

Cities in other parts of China may follow suit. "Other cities with complex road and traffic situations may also introduce similar bans as safety concerns caused by those vehicles has become a pressing issue in China," Mr Wang Limei, vice-president of the China Road Transport Association, told the Global Times.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 07, 2016, with the headline 'Beijing to ban electric bikes on 10 major roads'. Print Edition | Subscribe