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August 7, 2012

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17 killed, 66 injured by electric tricycles

ELECTRIC tricycles, zipping along city streets in the illegal transport business, have caused 17 deaths and another 66 injuries this year, city traffic police said yesterday.

Police found in most crashes involving the tricycles and mopeds in the city, the tricycles are mostly to blame.

In about 60 percent of such cases, the tricycles bear equal or greater responsibility for the crash.

Shanghai traffic police said they are "strengthening crackdowns on illegal tricycle and electrical moped operation around transport hubs, business areas and tourism sites."

The police have confiscated more than 20,000 such vehicles this year.

In a campaign in downtown Zhabei District yesterday, police seized 15 tricycles that had just been remodeled to be more powerful, with covers and seats added.

"They are poor at stability and are unable to brake in time in emergencies," said Wang Denghai, a captain with the district traffic police.

The tricycles have a top speed of more than 50 kilometers per hour, said police, which is dangerous. They often are used to carry passengers illegally.

Despite crackdowns, they are still commonly misused, which sometimes is fatal for others.

In one fatal crash this year, according to the police, a tricycle driver fled in the Pudong New Area after hitting a person who died at the scene.

The driver, from out-of-town, was later caught.

The tricycles usually operate around Metro stops to take riders for short-trip to nearby residential places or office buildings, where public transportation such as buses is lacking.

Police said the tricycle drivers tend to flee.

"Almost all my team members have injuries when trying to catch them," said a traffic police officer, surnamed Wu, in downtown Hongkou District.

Some of the vehicles were originally provided for handicapped people. They often are used illegally after being souped up, police said.

"Most drivers do not have any license for operation or certificates of being handicapped," said officers.

Police said this year they detected more than 1,300 cases in which the drivers of the tricycles were not handicapped.


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