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November 7, 2012

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Be careful with scooters, foreigners told

CITY traffic police are reminding foreigners, especially students, to be careful while riding their two-wheelers and ensure that the scooters and mopeds they use are safe and licensed.

The warning comes after a foreign student on a scooter was injured in a collision with another rider in Yangpu District on Monday.

Police said it's quite common to see the students riding the scooters, usually without a license plate, in Yangpu which is home to several universities.

The district police declined to disclose details about the injured foreign student, saying the investigation is ongoing.

Both riders suffered slight injuries in the Monday accident, police said, adding the scooter had no plate.

"Many foreign students like to buy the scooters and drive them fast," said Li Bin, a squad leader with Yangpu traffic police. "It's very dangerous."

So far police have reported about 10 cases of such traffic violations involving foreign students riding scooters, which led to several accidents.

The unlicensed vehicles were confiscated by police.

Li said some of the scooters, which are essentially low-power mopeds and therefore don't require a license, have been modified to be more powerful and therefore fail to pass police checks.

Traffic police said they had to go to the school campuses to educate the students and caution them against dangerous driving.

The incidents of drag racing, which had caused many sleepless nights for neighboring households, have since seen a decrease, police said.

However, foreigners seem quite used to not having a motorcycle plate.

"No one told me that you need a license plate for a scooter," Kim Joe-nam, a South Korea student at a local university, told Shanghai Daily. He had his scooter's structure refitted but did not change the engine. He was once caught by traffic police and fined 200 yuan (US$32) because of the unlicensed vehicle.

The city now has more than 13 million mopeds, scooters and motorcycles.


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