Guide for Bike Riders in Shanghai

Shuan’s question on riding bike in Shanghai:

Hello again,

First I would like to acknowledge your warm welcome,

second.. how do I ask a question.. is there any special place where I ask, or do I send you an email or what?

Any way, I’ll post my question here considering you can edit posts and what not (the above is a question in it self :P ^_^)

I just got a bycicle, a standard $500 rmb one.. today I rid to work and back! The thing is I don’t know the laws with the bycicle or in shanghai.. Every body just seems to do what ever.. ie., some people (well alot..) go through red lights, some people go through any light.. most people ride on what looks to be the wrong side of the road (with cars comming towards them, etc.) as a foreigner.. what do I do?

Every body just seems to ride any where on the road! I find this quite frightening coming from New Zealand.

A side note: One thing I dont get is the lights.. if it says you can walk.. why do cars still drive thru? I heard about some thing to do with “right way” or some thing but am not too sure..

I think you should write a cycling guide for tourists in shanghai.. Do I need to get a bike lisence? What places can I park my bike at.. etc. Do I have to pay for parking? Should I lock my bike up? Should I get lights? Bells to honk at people in the way? Do you need a helmet? What happens if I get a flat tire and get stranded some where? Do I have to ride in designated areas? If so.. where are these areas? Can I ride on the walkways.. is it allowed? What are some ways to be fined from the police? etc.

This would help alot of expats/foreigners who consider using a bike to get around shanghai or china in general.. As I don’t think there is an extension guide for this.. just little pieces of info.

Posted by: Shaun on September 6, 2006 08:37 PM

This is a very good topic to discuss. Here is my Personal Guide for Bike Riders in Shanghai.

What You Need to Ride a Bike in Shanghai?

To ride a bike in Shanghai, you do NOT need a license (or a certificate to demonstrate you can ride a bike). You can ride at any roads that allows riding (both foreigners and local residents). There is no classification the skill of your riding.

Typically, little boys and little girls learn to ride bikes when they are young – for me, I learn cylcing when I was 14. When their parents feel they can safely ride a bike, they go to the road, and then they keep riding on the “real road”. Unlike driving a car, riding a bike does not any license.

The bike does need a license. You get it after you buy your bike. They have a steel stamp that put a unique ID onto your bike on three major parts of the bike, and give you a certificate. You pay for this service, and most bike dealers provide this service.

This was mainly for the safety of the bike in case someone steal it. However, due to more and more bike stealing cases, and cheaper and cheaper a bike is (compared to people’s income), many people don’t have that number on the bike. For example, my second bike is still brand new – with no numbers. This is not allowed, but no one in this city really checks the number.


Two years ago, bike owners need to pay for 8 RMB (I remember, correct me if it is wrong) annual tax for the government. They will give a stamp to the bike owner’s booklet and a badge to you so you can put it to your key rings. Every year, some people will randomly stop people and check for the round badge. if you don’t have the badge, they ask you to pay the 7 RMB tax, and give you the badge.

This tax was canceled about two years ago, since the tax collected do not cover the cost of the 4000 people team to collect the tax. In 2004, 7 out of 12 provinces with bike tax canceled this kind of tax.

So relax! There is no bike tax in Shanghai.


People get confused about whether bikes should follow the traffic lights.

Obviously, you should. In many cross road, there are special sign designed for bicycles (so they have standard lights for cars, for pedestrians, and for bikes).

Since everyone can ride a bike without receiving the right training and education, many people still believes that red lights are still for cars only, and bikes don’t need to follow traffic lights. This is dangerous misunderstanding, but when you look at the current traffic situation, you will feel that the saying is reasonable since many people keep riding at red lights.

Green Lights for Pedestrians or Bike?

The other confusing situation for bike riders and pedestrians are, when there are green lights for bikes or pedestrians, cars still go across.

This is because in China, cars are still allowed to make right turn when it is red light (unless there are special red arrow pointing right). Although the traffic rule is, cars need to stop to yield for pedestrians, and pass when it is safe to do so, the general practice is, cars have the right to turn, and pedestrians need to yield for cars. Keep this in mind if you are new to ride in Shanghai.

Where to Park

Along the road, there are bike parking lots – you will see a lot of bikes there. Some places have bike parking sign, but no sign does not mean you cannot park. Follow your common sense and don’t park your bike in the middle of pedestrian.


It is important to have helmet to ride bike, but in Shanghai, helmet is not something related to bike. People never take helmet. This does not mean you don’t need to do that.

Need Help?

What happens if you get a flat tire and get stranded somewhere? There are some bike shops along the road. Just walk the bike. Typically, along the road with many bikes, chances are there will be some shops.

Area to ride

Some streets do not allow bike. Follow the sign – they have a forbidden sign – a circle with a bike stroked. For other areas, it is OK to ride. It is not OK to ride on walkways, unless with special sign, but unfortunately, it is a general practice. To violate this rule, you will be fined by policeman.

Happy and Safe Riding in Shanghai!

26 thoughts on “Guide for Bike Riders in Shanghai

  1. thank Dear jian shuo !

    I am wangyong’s student at wygglabs. finding work at shanghai now.

    but find no power send email .so I want come to the company.

    may be I need a bike now. so I can ride to any where at shanghai.

  2. Hi,

    Thanks for the useful information on your website.

    We’re flying in to Pudong airport from London this Saturday; we’ll take a connection flight from Hongqiao airport.

    I would like to find out if there is a Luggage Deposit in Hong Qiao airport? Also, how long does the airport shuttle bus take to go to Hongqiao from Pudong airport?

    Thank you in advance.



  3. One hour shuttle bus #1 from Shanghai Pudong Airport to Hongqiao.

    They have luggage desposit in Hongqiao. Checkout my Hongqiao airport webpage by searching Shanghai Hong Qiao airport in Google.

  4. it sounds very chaotic. I like to ride a bike down the street facing oncoming traffic so I can see what is coming. I don’t like riding on the side in the direction traffic is flowing because I am unable to see what is coming up behind me unless I continuously look back.

    they should have laws like in Denmark and give bicyclists the right of way. also make separate bike trails throughout the city.

  5. I think the best place to ride a bicycle in shanghai is nearby century park. There are less people, less cars and fresh air. In Puxi, it is terrible for forenger;s

  6. It’s illegal to ride the bike against traffic in the US. In most cases, cyclists need to follow the same rules as drivers.

  7. hi wang,

    i’m coming to shanghai soon. the first place where i sleep is lane 29 in Ling Ling road.

    well, i can’t find Lane 29 in any map roght now. i see u have a great map but in chinese …

    can u help me and show me where lane 29 is?

    thank u


  8. Hi Wang, it’s me again, lol

    or rather ni hao.

    It’s been nearly a month now since I got my bike (my first one broke 3 days after I brought it, the brand was “forever”, the one I have now is much better and much nicer).. and I have learnt some things here and there which I’m quite happy to say… Let me add some things for people who rish to ride a bycicle in Shanghai:

    Where Can You Buy a Bike?

    Most supermarkets carry a small to good size stock of cheap – average priced bikes. Just go to any large supermarket and look for bikes.. but remember that these aren’t top quality bycicles you might buy some where like in europe, they are cheap.. so this means no extreme bike manuevers.. and crazy riding techniques.. otherwise you’ll find that you’ll need a new bike within the next few days..

    How Much For A Decent Bike

    For a nice decent (as in, one that will last at least a month) bike you should be able to get one for about 400RMB – 600RMB

  9. So be worried if you’re the only one stopping at red lights every now and then.. =)

    should be

    So _dont’_ be worried if you’re the only one stopping at red lights every now and then.. =)


  10. hello there…

    one more precautionary measures for bikers…. “ONCE YOU PARKED YOUR BICYCLES EVERYWHERE IN SHANGHAI, MAKE SURE YOU REALLY KNOW HOW TO LOCK IT”…. or, BEST.. never leave it out of your sight!!!!!!

    many I’ve known,working there or even strolling around new places/new sights have LOST their precious bicycles to locales!!!!… once, my husband officemate lost his too, even caught the culprit in a security camera!! along their building surveillance camera, but nonetheless, the culprit never captured by Shanghai Police..(FYI: the culprit was a food delivery boy on their office building)

    then last Sunday, 9/23/06, my husband together w/his friends strolling around the new xiangyang market at the Science & Technology side… tehy parkec, locked & highly security their bicycyles but sad to say.. it was all GONE!!!!…

    sad story?? huh?!?!

    SO, BEWARE & BE CAREFUL w/ your BICYCLES!!!! specially, being bought from Decathlon or Giant.. the culprit knows what to get!!!!!

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  12. Hi there, i agree that biking in Puxi can be hazardous, but Pudong with its wide and open roads is great for biking. I live close to Zhangjiang and try to get out every weekend. The people in the villages are very friendly and there’s plenty to see. I’ve been taking pictures of the rapid changes in the Pudong countryside and usually track where I’ve been on Google Earth (even though many new roads haven’t been updated yet).


  13. Ni hao Jian Shuo-

    I want to add my thanks to the many others who have appreciated your words and photos. My family and I will be moving to Shanghai (Pudong) in August and we love to cycle (mountain biking, commuting, trips, etc.) It was great to see your photos of Pudong bike lanes and to hear about your rides. Since things seem to change so quickly in Shanghai, and in Pudong in particular, I’m interested in any new photos of your cycling adventures. We’ll be living near the Pudong campus of Shanghai American School, so I’m especially curious what that area is like…

    Xie xie!


  14. “SO, BEWARE & BE CAREFUL w/ your BICYCLES!!!! specially, being bought from Decathlon or Giant.. the culprit knows what to get!!!!!”

    When I arrived at the Pacific Computer City, I realised there is no safe place to park my bike. So I found a car parking place, and said to the guard: I pay you 10 rmb, please help me watch it.

    I got the invoice from him, and he brought my bike into his ROOM! After 3 hours of shopping, it was totally dark, and my bike was so safe, standing in the guard’s room….

  15. The best bicycle shop I know in Shanghai is the one which located in the No.1011 Zao Zhung Rd(枣庄路1011号).Tel:021-50701326 They can speak English.This shop is very famous for service the foreigns. Best service and very kind I have seen!

  16. The best bicycle shop I know in Shanghai is the one which located in the No.1011 Zao Zhung Rd(枣庄路1011号).Tel:021-50701326 They can speak English.This shop is very famous for service the foreigns. Best service and very kind I have seen!

  17. The best bicycle shop I know in Shanghai is the one which located in the No.1011 Zao Zhung Rd(枣庄路1011号).Tel:021-50701326 They can speak English.This shop is very famous for service the foreigns. Best service and very kind I have seen!

  18. I understand that many main roads in Shanghai don’t allow bicycles. I just bought one, and want to use it to ride around the city, but I would like to know which major roads (besides the obvious ones, like Nanjing Lu, Beijing Lu, Yan’an Lu, Huaihai Lu) do NOT allow bicycles. That way, I’m not expecting to be able to ride on a road only to find it closed to bicycles.

    A simple list of NO BICYCLE roads will be sufficient.

    Thanks so much!


  19. 1. i’m thinking of getting a bicycle here. i stay in puxi. can i cycle over to pudong? which route?

    2. i heard that there are nice beach area at pudong (maybe towards the edge of pudong). do u know where?

  20. It seems that lots of people are interesting in cycling in Shanghai.

    Any one wants to cycle in Yunnan? Contact

    Or leave me a message at

  21. I am looking for someplace in Shanghai to buy LED lights for my bicycle (signal lights, headlamp, warning lights)…does anyone know if there a large bicycle market or bicycle accessories market that will have multiple stores that sell this kind of stuff. Either in Puxi or Pudong is fine. Thanks for the help!!!

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