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May 13, 2016

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Foreigners given useful lesson in how to avoid getting traffic fines

A GROUP of about 40 foreigners who work in Jing’an District attended a seminar yesterday to help them master the finer points of Shanghai’s traffic laws.

“It was good to get some information, because sometimes it might be a bit unclear for foreigners in terms of what is legal and what is illegal,” Briton Izzy Ukooko told Shanghai Daily after the event.

The hour-long presentation, organized by the Jing’an Exit and Entry Administration for employees of companies based at the Shibei Hi-tech Park on Jiangchang Road W., comprised a digital slide show and question and answer session.

Another of the participants was Vika Korpusova, a Russian who moved to Shanghai in 2013.

"I don't think many foreigners in Shanghai know the local rules. Because many people don't know, and then they don't follow that."

During the slide show, the assorted expats — whose number also included Thais and Spaniards — were given a breakdown of the most common traffic offenses committed by foreigners.

“Top of the list,” said police officer Wei Wei, “is e-bike riders carrying a pillion.”

Other frequently spotted violations include “people riding motorized bikes without a helmet, failing to register e-bikes, and traveling in the wrong direction along the road,” he said.

Ukooko said he has an electric bike and has often carried a friend on the back seat, as he didn’t realize it was an offense.

After the presentation, Korpusova and a handful of other foreigners took to the streets to watch Wei and his colleagues tackle traffic crime on Nanjing Road and Shaanxi Road.

“I’ve stopped three or four violations already,” she told Shanghai Daily, as she waved a flag in the direction of an oncoming e-bike.

Wei said that Jing’an police plan to host several more events for foreigners to help them to become safer road users, and avoid being fined.

Wherever you’re from, if you live in Shanghai, you should be aware of these five traffic offenses:

1. Riding pillion is illegal on all motorized bikes

Which probably comes as news to the thousands of grandparents who give their grandchildren rides home from school every day.

2. The wearing of safety helmets is compulsory for motorized bike riders

Though, strangely, such headgear is a rare sight on the city’s streets.

3. All motorized bikes must be registered with the police

Secondhand e-bike buyers take note.

4. All bikes, motorized or not, are banned from being ridden on sidewalks or zebra crossings

This ubiquitous practice really is against the law, as a Shanghai Daily journalist found to his cost just yesterday.

5. International driving permits are invalid in Shanghai, but can be used to obtain a local license

To get the latter you will be required to sit a theory test.


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