Mopeds cited as safety risk on roads

Shanghai Daily - - METRO - Dong Zhen

MOPEDS have be­come a ma­jor risk to road safety with more than 20 per­cent of traf­fic ac­ci­dents in re­cent years in­volv­ing the two-wheeler, lo­cal leg­is­la­tors said yes­ter­day.

Com­pared with other big me­trop­o­lises around the world, the city’s road ac­ci­dent toll in re­cent years has also re­mained alarm­ingly high, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal leg­is­la­tors who are seek­ing so­lu­tions to im­prove the cur­rent traf­fic reg­u­la­tion and law en­force­ment for bet­ter road safety.

Traf­fic po­lice told the leg­is­la­tors that more than 20 per­cent of ve­hi­cle crashes and sin­gle ac­ci­dents on lo­cal streets in­volve mopeds.

There are mil­lions of elec­tric or gas-pow­ered mopeds run­ning on lo­cal streets while the num­ber of mo­tor­bikes has grad­u­ally di­min­ished af­ter lo­cal govern­ment started to re­strict ac­cess to them and stopped is­su­ing new li­cense plates.

Traf­fic po­lice said com­pared to bi­cy­cles, mopeds are much speed­ier, a pri­mary rea­son why they are in­volved in se­ri­ous crashes with other ve­hi­cles or pedes­tri­ans.

By end of last year, there were nearly 1.7 mil­lion lo­cally reg­is­tered cars in Shang­hai while the num­ber of bikes and mopeds com­bined added up to 13.6 mil­lion, ac­cord­ing to the lo­cal statis­tics bureau.

Po­lice said they be­lieved there were still a mas­sive num­ber of un­li­censed mopeds in the city. De­spite warn­ing from po­lice, bik­ers still pay agents to have their ve­hi­cles mod­i­fied to break the speed limit or revamp the mopeds them­selves. Such ve­hi­cles would not pass li­cense ap­pli­ca­tion but due to lim­ited law en­force­ment force, they are still run­ning on roads.

Po­lice didn’t pro­vide a break­down of the road toll in­volv­ing mopeds but said 1,011 peo­ple were killed in lo­cal traf­fic ac­ci­dents last year com­pared to 1,042 in 2009 and 1,100 in 2008.

Leg­is­la­tors said although the death toll has been de­clin­ing over the years, the num­ber was still alarm­ing when com­pared to gen­eral ac­ci­dent tolls in big cities over­seas.

Mean­while, many lo­cals com­plain that driv­ers lack ba­sic driv­ing cour­tesy and show lit­tle con­cern for the safety of cy­clists and pedes­tri­ans.

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