Shuan’s question on riding bike in Shanghai:
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.
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!