In Shenzen, China people are apparently dying in numbers big enough to ban the electric bike. According to the New Yorker “sixty-four people died and two hundred and thirty-three were injured.” Why are people getting hurt? The theory is that these bikes are too quiet and since no one can hear them coming accidents occur. So what does the Chinese “post-modern” Government do? They ban them. Granted this is not to say that people’s lives are less important than a bicycle, but there are other avenues to explore before you get rid of them all together. Such as what Gizmodo colomist Casey Chan suggested about how “they could’ve implemented a digital sound in the bikes” to make them more noticeable.
Honestly after visiting China for a month and touring the major cities I can say that electric bikes are the least of their problems. I guarantee that cars get into more accidents and kill more people than electric bikes. The ability to own a car s fairly new to the citizens for China. Imagine a country of 16 year old drivers. No one completely knows the rules, and everyone thinks they have the right-of-way. As a pedestrian there it was honestly scary crossing the street. So where is the ban on hybrid cars? They are just as quiet as electric bikes, and they weight a hell of a lot more.
Also you have to think about what is happening to the people with all of the electric bikes. The average pay for someone in China is not the same as an American. Who’s to say that you are not taking their only mode of transportation away by making their bicycle illegal? Imagine you are the Chinese factory worker that needs that electric bike because cannot afford a car and does not have the endurance to ride a regular bicycle. “‘People buy the bicycles trusting that they will not be taken away,’ as Wang Zhenyu, of China University of Public Science and Law, told the Global Times.” I bet it would hurt a little less if they replaced all of the electric bicycles with regular ones for all of these people.
So consider this a loss for the people of China. The country that has relied on the bicycle for so long turns its back on it so quickly.
[New Yorker via Gizmodo]
One response to “Shenzen, China Bans Electric Bikes”
Also, electric cycles may be the only form of personal transportation available to those with injury to the foot or leg. I know because I was in a cast for months and both auto and manual cycle where not options. Public transit is an option if available, but is significantly more inconvenient.
I hope that China changes this policy, but at least they should allow those with mobility challenges to continue to use them.
Also, my cycle only goes 32 km/hr (20 mph) by law… I dont know if this is the same in China, but if not, imposing a speed limit may solve much of the issue.
Finally, I really doubt a well tuned bicycle would provide enough noise to alert motorists either. I wonder if regular cycle fatality was even considered or compared in this evaluation. I ride both cycle and electric bicycle and in my experience, electric is easier and safer to ride on roads and paved paths. Manual bicycles excel in “off road” riding.
IMO: this is about selling more mopeds with gasoline (aka: noisy, stinky, expensive) engines. I suspect the gasoline vehicle and fuel industry had a hand in this restriction.