Beijing OKs electric bicycles

Posted: 25 January 2006

The Chinese capital has removed the ban on electric bicycles to ease city traffic, which have become increasingly congested due to fast rising numbers of cars on the road.

A circular from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau said from January 4, electric bikes that have met national standards and entered an approved list are officially allowed to take to the road after being registered with the city's traffic administration.

The city stopped registering electric bikes from August 2002 after the number reached tens of thousands, citing the reason that used batteries of such bikes are hard to dispose of and may pollute the environment.

The point has been hotly debated by the public. Electric bike producers argued a sound system for retrieving and disposing of used batteries has been established. Beijing citizens generally favour lifting the ban, saying such bikes are very convenient means of transportation.

Buses and subway trains in Beijing are notoriously crowded. Electric bikes are the best option for a large number of people who desire quick transport but cannot comfortably afford cars.

Electric bike producers, environmental experts and ordinary citizens have never stopped lobbying for the removal of the ban.

Removal of the ban came as pressure mounts on city administrators to tackle horrible traffic congestion, air pollution and possible fuel supply, caused to a large extent by a rapidly growing number of cars on the road.

It is just part of a series of measures undertaken by the capital city to address traffic congestion. Other major steps include greatly increasing the number of buses and building more urban railways.

Some other areas in China, including a few cities in Hubei and Guangdong provinces, still ban the use of electric bikes.

Source: INS/China Daily