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[How to]: Stop the Po-Po from Seizing Your Scooter

You got a license for that ride?
2017-03-02 12:47:15
From the directly and minutely useful to information on living your best self in the world. How To is our regular column on how to accomplish things in the city.

You got a license for that ride?

New regulations came into effect yesterday saying most of the e-bikes that are popular among expats are illegal, and you’re getting slapped with a fine if you’re caught on one. Actually, they were deemed illegal three years ago, but you could get a temporary license and the authorities were being lax about the whole thing. No more. Find out how to get a permanent registration after the jump.


Here’re the facts;

The only legal e-bikes are the ones that fit a new set of technical specs. If you're a real nerd you can check out the whole list in Chinese here, but here’re the highlights;

  • Battery output can’t exceed 240W
  • Battery capacity can’t exceed 48V
  • Weight can’t exceed 40 kilos
  • Speed can’t exceed 20km/h

That’s it. No ifs, ands or buts. You get caught on any e-bike that breaks any of the rules (or dozens of other little ones), you’re liable for a 50rmb fine that’ll go up to 250rmb by the end of the month, and there’s a chance you’ll get your bike confiscated. No, building a DIY e-bike that fits those specifications doesn't make it legal. It never has.

Actually, even if a store sells a bike it doesn’t mean that it’s legal. It's got to have a nameplate, a production licensed logo and model and a manufacturer's certificate. There's a list of all 3,525 legal e-bike models here (again, in Chinese). Select by brand and then model, and if it's not on there, maybe you can sell it in Hangzhou or something.

How to keep your legal bike

If your bike is on that list, you still need to get it registered. We've got 18 of the bike application centers listed here. You have to go to the one in the district where you’re registered. If none of these are near you, there's a full list in Chinese here.

You’ll need to bring your passport with photocopies of both the ID page and your visa, your temporary residence permit, the bike’s fapiao/receipt, and a conformity certificate for the bike which is usually included in the bike’s paperwork. Otherwise, ask the shop owner for one.

Also it’s illegal to smoke indoors now too. Just thought we should mention that.