Driving in China — Wikitravel

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BMW Other Military sidecar rig

Driving in China

Contents

article is a travel topic

visitors find they enough trouble surviving traffic without actually the wheel. It is generally best to rent a car with a driver or a driver if you buy a car. Because of wages, the cost of the driver is low.

[edit ] Licences

You drive with an International Permit (IDP) in mainland ; China has not signed the convention created IDPs. You need a license to drive in China. Kong, Macau or Taiwan licenses are not considered Chinese

PRC laws say that foreign can have driver’s licenses and an IDP can be converted to a local license, with an additional examination. It is now to get a provisional driver’s license easily in major cities Beijing. You can get one directly from the at Beijing Capital Airport any tests.

Getting a regular may be quite complicated. The particular seem to vary from to place and over time.

there is a computerized theory of 100 out of over 900 multiple choice with 90% as a pass mark; if you do not you can do a second test without any further fee. In major these tests are available in Russian, German, French, Korean, Spanish, and English and the are available from the Public Traffic Management Bureau, for see: www.gzjjzd.gov.cn. In smaller the officials may insist you do it in Chinese.

allow you to bring a translator; do not. It is common that just translating, the translator dictate you correct answers and a small fee of not more than 100

Generally, but not always, you are excused the actual driving test if you a foreign license.

Some report that Chinese suggested a small gift to the officials and it helped greatly; have been told by Chinese friends that a move would be foolish and

One possible method for a foreigner to get a license is to take the following in Hong Kong. convert foreign license into a Kong license for about Then, go to Mainland (Guangzhou is the easiest place) and convert HK license into a Mainland

Though this may have in the past, foreigners are no longer to convert a HK license into a license unless you have a HK card, which requires years of residency in HK or birth This is NO LONGER TRUE. including Hong Kong people MUST take the exam if converting the HK driver’s to a mainland one.

On January 1, a new motor vehicle driver teaching and examination syllabus into force in China. The new of exam questions has been updated and 90% of the questions are new. The new bank is not going to be published by the Management Bureau as it is their that students must the traffic regulations and understand the of the rules rather than answers to questions.

It is quite to pass the test all by yourself. The (registration for the test, testing, license) is all done in the driving centre, eg. in Xili for Shenzhen It is quite time expensive because you have to go there times.

Better way is to ask one of the small schools, which can be found at second corner in Shenzhen to do all the for you.

The test can be done in at least English and although the questions are not officially available for anymore, English translations can be online. For example www.chinese-driving-test.com

people use a service in obtaining the

In most places, private is allowed given common and reasonable care: that in practice that at least one in the car must have a valid but not necessarily the driver.

At least in cities electric scooters are treated as bicycles . You do need to the vehicle but only with a license which is cheaper and than a motorcycle license. You do not a driver’s license to ride it. cities completely ban the use of electric

There may be restrictions in where you can it, eg: not in the main traffic lanes.

] Self Drive tours

are self-drive tours of various often with service includes getting a China License for the foreign driver and a car for the trip included:

[edit ]

In mainland China and Tibet, drives on the right-hand side of the Various neighbours — Hong Macau, India, Nepal and — drive on the left.

The official code in the People’s Republic of is the Road Traffic Safety Law of the Republic of China (中华人民共和国道路交通安全法)[1]. It to all vehicles in China except vehicles.

A vehicle with a or military, (including police and departments) plates are white but blue, may not follow any rules. It may run a red or simply go in the wrong direction or in and out of traffic. (This is not too different how every other car drives.)

is a supplementary regulation to the Road Safety Law (中华人民共和国道路交通安全法实施条例)which specifies how regulations in the main law are supposed to be out.

Increasingly, Chinese Police to accept the IDP (also called IDL or or translations to the format of an IDP. focus very much on on-the-spot judgment of the driver’s sufficiently skilled and experienced to safely with respect to his own and safety. (But be careful if you to use a IDL as it is not officially accepted in China, and without a Chinese license can get you up to 14 imprisonment. In Shenzhen. for example it is illegal to do so and you will be very checked as foreigner. Especially you pass the SEZ checkpoints.)

In case of an if it is minor as a scrape, most just drive on. If you stop and about whatever, you can then It is common that the failing pay about 100 yuan or so to the other and that is then the end of the matter. If you you must not move the cars the police arrive, which can time. This also in many of the massive traffic you will encounter on Chinese

They usually check and licenses and photograph the incident. In of personal injury, you should and offer assistance. It is highly that a person not involved in the from the general public offer any assistance outside of helping you phone the police. response time can be poor or slow.

Chinese are very to offer assistance because of a fear of being sued and the fact that person who for an ambulance must pay the bill. At this is the conventional wisdom.

of large imported luxury Sometimes they belong to or young, immature relatives of party or other officials, who themselves to be above the law which, is very often the case.

If you that the police have bribes from the other which often happens, them aware that you about the Ministry of Supervision ruthlessly deals with or the Tourist Complaint Board. It can a profound effect on procedures. in China are usually very and understanding towards visitors but have been reported foreigners regarding blame in accidents.

[edit ] Speed

Speed limits are as follows:

30 (19 mph) on city roads there is only one lane per 40 km/h (25 mph) on China Highways;

up to 70 km/h (43 mph) on roads where there is a road with central or two yellow lines or 80 km/h (50 on China National Highways;

100 (62 mph) on city express

120 km/h (75 mph) on expressways.

is generally around 10 km/h (6 Some expressways may have set all the way up to 20 km/h (12 mph); however, around 15 km/h (9 mph) to 20 (12 mph) over the stated limit is relatively high

Speed traps are conveniently with the characters 雷达测速区 speed check zone) or (speeding detection camera).

for exceeding the speed limits are as

up to 200 yuan for excess speeds 10 km/h (6 mph) but under 50% of the limit. Example: if driving at 100 (62 mph) in a 80 km/h (50 mph)

up to 2000 yuan and possible of license for excess speeds 50% of the speed limit. Example: if at 190 km/h (118 mph) on a 120 (75 mph) expressway.

Speeding is to normal in cities and in the countryside to the already dangerous driving Some enforcement can be found on the systems. Speeders are commonly as biao che (飙车).

[edit ] Conditions

[edit ] General

The condition of roads and road varies greatly from to municipality with the Western being poorer than the and the Guangzhou region. As the building and of roads are mostly funded by government, you may notice a sharp when crossing provincial Places with decent have superb infrastructure.

possible, drive near the of the road as drain covers are stolen. The side of the road be a mixture of pedestrian, bicycles and animals, drain well covers, and sometimes farmers use of the road to dry the grains.

Turning off of roads may require technical driving skills and equipment, and at places it is illegal.

[edit ] Roads

In major city traffic is often congested, on the myriad of city ring (except those on the outer of the city). Beijing comes in at the (comparatively), despite five roads and nine arterial Shanghai ranks relatively with elevated expressways and

The congestion is far more complex that in Western countries. are crowds of pedestrians to contend Bicycles swarm everywhere in the dark. In recent years, the scooter/bike has become quite Economic prosperity has made it for many Chinese to own cars and the of cars on the road has increased

In many areas, there are lots of motorcycles. Three carts powered by motorcycle are also common. In the smaller anything from tractors to carts may turn up!

[edit ] National Highways

Beijing municipality is the only unit where tolls are not for China National Highways. though, these are toll on the national, and sometimes on the provincial as well.

G-level (national) National Highways are a pleasure to on. The speed limit is 80 km/h (50 but cars often zip at speeds 100 km/h (62 mph), thanks to the absence of speed detection

S-level (provincial) highways may be smooth to drive on. Unlike highways, sometimes there is no reservation or road separation, and you may be to one lane per direction.

X-level highways are not necessarily the worst to on, but they are challenging. More are township-level highways. Some of roads may be in areas officially off to the visiting foreigner.

[edit ]

Expressways and express routes in are a godsend, with traffic in both English and Chinese, facilities, service areas, filling stations, plenty of high speed limits, and the lack of traffic jams. when one does occur to wait several hours or in cases even days for the to clear as damaged cars or or usually not taken off the roadway the accident resulting in kilometer kilometer of jammed roadways. this will result in jockeying for position and jamming the shoulder adding further time to the traffic jam and potentially accidents.

Although in English, express routes and expressways are to as expressways, their Chinese are named differently. Express are written 快速公路, whereas are written as 高速公路. The idea is express routes link of and larger municipalities, but expressways do the work, liaising from one to another.

Express routes lower speed limits expressways. In Beijing, a few expressways speed limits below routes: these are the Jingjintang (Beijing segment) and the Jingha (Beijing segment). They are at 90 km/h (56 mph).

[edit ]

Relatively modest traffic, any and all bicycle lanes.

Chinese is distinctly dangerous for vehicles, and pedestrians. Road accidents in are common and often fatal.

to Chinese statistics [2]. has about 100,000 traffic a year, more than the number in United States though the US has more than times as many cars [4]. According to the World Organisation [5] In China, traffic are the leading cause of … for between 15 and 45 and the annual Chinese … toll is near [6] .

To a newcomer, Chinese traffic to have no rules or, if there are it appears they are neither nor enforced. In reality, of course, are rules; they do generally to avoid hitting each However, Chinese rules are different from what travellers are used to.

To Western appallingly bad driving is the norm, and or suicidal behaviour behind the is fairly common.

Do not assume Chinese drivers will any rule you know.

Foreign must try to adapt to this perhaps more sensibly, up and take taxis or hire a You do not have to learn to drive a Chinese, but at least you should not be when they do. There is no point getting angry if cuts you off or drives against the red or on the wrong side of the road.

You yield and carry on as if nothing had

Every car/driver has a body which predicts what will do next. It is essential to this body language and by it. If you are driving down a four road, and the lane in front of the to the right of you and slightly ahead of you is the lane ahead is free, you immediately assume the taxi move left into lane without any warning.

sort of thinking ahead, or driving, can help you avoid problems but of course you cannot everything that may happen.

way to look at it is that there are two rules you must obey, equally important. Don’t hit and don’t get hit by anything.

Despite all the many foreigners do drive in and, after adapting, feel reasonably comfortable and about it.

[edit ] The Mindset of a driver

Another point to driving in China is that are lots of people and that how they interact with other. For example, when tickets, instead of lining up in an queue, they crowd and push their way in. In the U.S, if happened, a fight would In China, they just go their business.

On the road you see behavior; everybody jostling to get However, you seldom see behaviors as road rage like in the

In the U.S, when you ride a you can get away with certain such as riding in the opposite of traffic, running red lights. of traffic rules on bicycles is lax and for riders bend the rules. If you are a rider, if you choose to break the you use your own judgement when so. The same thing applies in

Since a number of traffic are not strictly enforced in China, car behave like they are drivers.

With all the chaos on the road, drivers tend to be more with the horn. Driving is a affair. They use their to bring awareness to other and to remind other drivers are there. Large vehicles as trucks and buses have air horns and will blare when overtaking vehicles.

In countries, a horn is used immediate danger is sensed. It is rude to honk the horn, but drivers do it constantly to communicate others.

[edit ] Right of way

The of right-of-way is quite different in than in many other First is Right, or less any vehicle with a slight lead or access to a gap before vehicle has de-facto right of way to that gap. This allows for any driver the habit of right out into the traffic forcing the opposing vehicle to stop or crash.

This applies to lane changes too can come at anytime from any Be alert to brake at any moment! If you do not your way in, you will not ever be to enter the flow of traffic at sections.

Merging . vehicles from intersections, side alleys and parking lots, onto any road without to traffic already underway on road (and often without a glance at oncoming If the merging driver can reach any in traffic, the oncoming cars are to yield and allow the merge.

Changes . lane changes and are more often than not but then the first is right reigns, and yielding is expected of a vehicle, even if only by a small margin. Imagine the collision dent will be: if enters your lane and you the side of their vehicle, it be assumed that you failed to even though they cut you

Left turns . at intersections, a green-from-red light change, intending to turn left straight-through traffic will enter the intersection to accomplish turn before straight-through can proceed. While this may be in intersections without a dedicated Turn Arrow, expect to occur even if there is or no straight-through traffic approaching the

Allowing the turning vehicle(s) to the maneuver is the best practice. turns are aided by the yellow-before-green light sequence common in Furthermore, observe this and use a red-to-green light change as Left Turn Arrow. If use a leading turning vehicle as a

Be aware that vehicles you (using you as a shield) will try to veer to either side of completing their turn regard for your situation.

As first is right; trailing is expected to yield. In other a new green light is usually as a left arrow.

Regarding turns in general; a vehicle to turn left across traffic will not consistently to oncoming, established traffic and a safe opening. Any opening may be the required minimum size of the apparently depends on the left driver’s sense of self-preservation vehicles and poorer quality will take more

Oncoming vehicles that in wariness of a possible ill-advised will often prompt the driver to commit. Oncoming are advised to continue without while preparing for heavy or lane changes to accommodate the

In summary, in western countries, the rule is cars should to avoid disrupting and impeding flowing traffic. The first is rule violates this rule. In western countries a traffic pattern in a city is wait for traffic signal, to next traffic light and

They may be moving to fast to to other cars. In China, can be expected to yield at any time, and in cities tends moves in a steady manner.

Car-pedestrian are complicated; ubiquitous pedestrians, and cycles, often acting or even negligent toward traffic, are generally considered to possessed Right of Way in any collision them and a vehicle. If a larger strikes a pedestrian or rider, the vehicle will generally be liable.

Bearing that in vehicles will use their and security advantage, and often the to maneuver through even occupied crossings. Aware will generally expect a will force through a way, and are often confused if the halts to allow them Painted cross walks bars painted on road are hardly typically observed as protected areas, but woe to a driver who a pedestrian there.

Never a driver will actually for you at a marked crossing. Drivers actually push anything in of them off the sidewalk or side of the it is assumed you will move out of way.

The first is right can be applied to car-pedestrian interactions If you are standing on a sidewalk at a cross the driver will assume were there first and not yield to you. If you, the are already crossing, a car will no choice but to slow down or around you to avoid you.

The rule appears to be keep no matter what . Cutting off, swerving into the lane, driving on the shoulder, or in a bicycle lane, or the wrong way a divided highway are all fine as as they keep you moving in the general direction and do not cause an accident. If you were to wait for person, scooter, or car, you be in for a very long and frustrating

In some situations, it is perfectly to see cars and trucks and motorcycles all on the along with pedestrians and all going their own separate Taxis are the worst offenders of very dangerous habit.

] Running red lights

Chinese routinely go through red lights if is no opposing traffic. Pedestrians do not as traffic; just honk at to get out of the way or swerve around them. It is moderately common to run red lights in the presence of other traffic.

A teacher in Lanzhou became a bit of a on the Chinese Internet in 2009 his campaign to make an intersection his home safer. He took to bricks at cars that ran the [7] and hit over 30 before the police up.

Many drivers of very construction trucks prefer to late at night (10pm-4am) on roads such as the Jingmilu These drivers are paid by how trips they make and of this they are notorious Chinese and Expatriates for running red seemingly without slowing

As the car culture grows in China, the have become stricter. For in places where there are red cameras to capture cars red lights, cars will to avoid the fines.

[edit ] traffic everywhere

Bicycles and and sometimes cars ignore signs. On divided highways, pedestrians, bicycles and motorcycles the wrong way down the shoulder is normal, and a few go the wrong way beside the fence. A typical situation you may is a two way road with traffic in directions and center median or that prevents vehicles crossing. There will be in certain parts of the medians to left turns.

If a vehicle to make a left turn out of a finds there is no gap in the median in front of the driveway, they usually enter road and the wrong way along the center until they can find a gap and into the opposing lane goes in the correct direction. situation where they the wrong way is if a vehicle wants to a left turn off a two-way with the center median or and drive into a driveway, but the is not conveniently located near a gap in the or fence.

They will the center median in a gap before destination driveway, drive the way in the oncoming traffic lane, and the road when they their driveway. These save the effort of travelling a and making a u-turn.

At traffic (roundabouts), drivers hate around the island in the middle if can avoid it; they will just swing left Lane markings are also ignored; for example, taxis go straight through an intersection via a marked as left turn because that gets past other cars.

BMW Other Military sidecar rig

On roads there may be, for example, a triangular traffic island of an actual intersection to facilitate turns. Two sides are roads; the is a curving lane intended for making a right turn northbound to eastbound. In China, turning left from to southbound routinely use that

Many Chinese cities bicycle lanes fenced off on side of the road. These will carry two-way regardless of the direction of the traffic including bicycles and motorcycles the occasional car, truck and Cars routinely take to lanes if traffic in the main is jammed; they then at bicyclists to force them out of the way their horn as a form of plow clearing the way in front of

The driver is operating under the you will move and if you don’t in a timely fashion you are risking struck down if walking or on a and will most likely be

Even the sidewalks often two-way bicycle and motorcycle plus the odd car going to or from a spot. Cars again under the assumption they own the and its up to you to get out of their way. Again, on the sidewalks, vehicles honk at to get them out of their way.

] Lights on

Lorry drivers may not with switching on lights at You should. Switch on your lights on, in fact, if there is no vehicle approaching you.

be aware in doing this, if the police catch you in a vehicle lights on during daytime, you be fined.

Few Chinese drivers to know about dimming headlights for approaching cars. on some freeways, driving at is unpleasant and dangerous. Avoid it if at all

When driving at night, be aware that people walk in the middle of the road, the back to the oncoming traffic, in clothes. This is one reason drivers do not often dip the lights. In the there may even be people on the road.

Bicycles very have lights and many do not have reflectors. Motorcycles run at night without lights. are sometimes on the wrong side of the

On country roads, electric riders turn off their to save battery power.

] Other oddities

Taxi by a confusing traffic sign.

on the right, despite being is very common in China. One is that slow vehicles drive in the center lane of roads, If you find yourself such a vehicle and want to on the right, be alert for anything motorcycles to horse-drawn carts in the lane.

Public buses and private buses, rather acting as professional drivers to their human cargo, are among the most aggressive Many in the countryside routinely stoplights or fail to slow turning, will pass or slower traffic even if requires using the oncoming lanes, and will often their sheer size to merging. Again, first is if the front of a vehicle hits the or rear of another vehicle, the vehicle is assumed at fault, no the circumstances that preceded the

[edit ] New drivers

New drivers are marked with the label 实习, but driving quality varies acceptable to deplorable. Stay from them if you can—they are overwhelmed by the traffic as well.

] Motorcycles

The Chinese climate is conducive to motorcycle riding, and you see in many cities across However, the traffic is definitely not to cope with. The Chinese is no better. It can be quite difficult for a to get the drivers license, insurance and to travel around China on personal motorcycle.

Despite quite a few foreign residents bikes and some tourists may to try it. Remember for a motorcycle to be legal, it to be legally registered with a plate; you must have and a Chinese motorcycle licence.

are some restrictions. Motorcycles are on most freeways and some forbid them in the downtown in an effort to control traffic For example, motorcycles are banned downtown Guangzhou. Dongguan.

Zhuhai and Hangzhou. and there are in Beijing and Shanghai. Riding a into these prohibited can lead to fines and possible of the bike. There can also be complications; for example in some (such as Beijing ,) only registered within the metropolitan can be legally ridden.

One of the reasons are banned in cities like is because of the amount of motorcyle robberies common back in the and early 2000’s. In the past, it was not to see two males on a motorcycle drive-by and necklaces and snatch purses female victims.

Most motorcycles are 125 cc, with 50, 90 and 150 also common. There are also scooters and three-wheel motorcycle-based vehicles, most with 125 cc At least in some cities you register anything larger 250 cc. A 125 cc plain-jane Suzuki sells for ¥4000 ($600 US).

A bike with road or off-road pretensions would be a bit a Chinese brand somewhat Some Chinese companies their own chassis but buy engine/transmission from Suzuki or Honda; are probably the best value. Of at the lowest end are simply bicycles have been fitted engines to function like something probably seen in China.

You can also find Japanese bikes in most Look on the outskirts for motorcycle shops and eventually you will one with some older XR’s or CBR’s or the like. A 10 old CBR400 should be about in good shape. The Honda is also fairly common but are a bit expensive around ¥10,000 for a 5 to 8 old bike. The laws are not very on these bikes, if you buy one be careful of the they may confiscate the bike.

In a few foreigners in Shanghai were and evicted for unlicensed riding.

Few motorcycles meet the homologation including some BMW and Honda. if they are considered big bikes, can be registered in some Chinese Ask the selling shops for help.

and Zhongzhen started selling 600 cc on the Chinese market, price registration should start at ¥35,000.

Many Chinese ride without helmets, or the male will wear or with the helmet on but the chin usually undone. Three or more on a motorcycle or two on a bicycle is normal, as is having passengers sidesaddle. It is moderately common to see up to on a motorcycle.

There is a fairly photo of nine people on a but Snopes says it is partly [8] — the original photo only had (two … couples and children) and an extra baby was in. Loads of a cubic meter or so are for both bicycles and motorcycles, and larger loads are sometimes

All in all considering how dangerous driving in can be, riding a motorbike there by is only for the adventurous and not for the faint

[edit ] Sidecar rigs

The interesting bikes in China are Jiang [9]. Back in the BMW designed a 750 cc flat twin sidecar rig for the German army. were built in Russia the treaty of Versailles forbade the to build military equipment, motorcycles, and at the time Hitler and were on good terms.

At the end of the war, the Russians took the factory in Germany as well, the whole operation to the Urals and producing bikes to that The Russian brands are called and Volga. They also or sold China the equipment and Jiang are the result.

There’s a modernised version with valves and electric starter. are not your high performance bike; even the new OHV model is 32 horsepower. However, they designed for military use and are very built. They are about

They are invariably sold and with the sidecar; it might not be to license them without it.

are lots of older Chang around and if you buy one that is old enough, it may be as an antique vehicle. This mean it is exempt from country’s import restrictions; safety and pollution laws some sort of exemption for This is risky: some have lost bikes at . You need a thorough understanding of country’s regulations before considering it.

One vendor that this type of export is Solutions [10] in Beijing. also rent bikes, tours, and help with drivers licenses. Another Chiang Jiang specialist similar services is Gerald

Shanghai has a dealer called Wolf Sidecar [12] and a club [13] that many Chiang Jiang It is common for a rebuilt machine one of these vendors to cost more than a new bike from the factory would; say they are worth it because of the quality control.

A real might consider riding a Jiang from China to using routes in the Europe to Asia over land and Road itineraries. You could get on the bikes in Russia from familiar with Dneiper and some parts are even

[edit ] Motorcycle tours

are motorcycle-based tours of various often with rental of a Jiang included:

The Genghis Run an Epic Classic Premium 12 days Inner Mongolia to the Wall. Toys for big boys, enough with just the luxury trimmings, cuban grainfed beefsteak etc.

HC Travel [15]. based in UK, Chang Jiang tours to Wall, Tibet and Mongolia

Bike Tours [16] based, offer a Silk tour

Asia Bike [17]. based in India and Enfields, run a tour into

Insiders Experience [18]. off the beaten track city and expeditions on vintage jeep and motorbikes throughout China.

has an annual Motorcycle Tourist [19] in late June.

] Electric scooters

Electric are common and cheaper than (¥1,500 for a base model, for the top-of-the-line). While they the horsepower and range of a motorcycle, are quieter, cleaner, lighter, and to maintain. Beware however while in terms of emission and pollution they are a welcome for China’s overcrowded and choked roads, but they are very silent and often you will not them coming at all until its too

This of course makes the of a serious collision with a common. Scooters come a battery (or batteries) that are removable as well as rechargeable a household outlet. At least in cities, these vehicles are as a bicycle so one does not need a license to ride them and may advantage of bike lanes and (if present) to circumvent traffic.

like motorcycles, some have banned them. The reason is that many bikes are being used in bag crimes. Others suggest it is to room for people with and people movers.

Do not expect the of electro-bike riders to ever use the at night or dusk.

Scooters are a for thieves, so always ensure one of the wheels or, ideally, both are with a solid lock. as well are liable to be stolen and be locked to the scooter with the mechanism or stored indoors not in use. Some residences for scooters to be brought indoors which is preferable.

The bulk of scooter sales are increasingly over the Internet. Native who are knowledgeable in such matters be able to direct you to a good for your particular city. Be to understand what to look for purchasing a used scooter. importantly, a scooter’s battery, all forms of batteries, will its ability to hold a charge time.

It is often possible to a new battery to go along with a bike, however.

This is a article. It touches on all the major of the topic. An adventurous person use this article, but please forward and help it grow !

BMW Other Military sidecar rig
BMW Other Military sidecar rig
BMW Other Military sidecar rig


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