27 Apr Dr David Hon of DAHON and Mr Ma Zhongchao of the China Bicycle Association Condemn E-bike Ban in China
Folding bike CEO and founder writes open letter to government and garners support of China Bicycle Association
April 21 2016, Shenzhen, China – Recent legislation in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and coming soon to Shenzhen forbids the use of E-bikes across large swathes of the cities. Founder and CEO of DAHON, the world’s largest manufacturer of folding bikes, Dr David Hon was compelled to write an open letter to the public, and to the government, speaking out against the regulations and urging lawmakers to draft “laws more conducive to environmental protection”. The letter was published online on April 8 2016 to DAHON’s following of more than 105,000 fans and other media outlets, and a copy sent specifically for the attention of the China Bicycle Association. The letter is printed in full below this article.
The China Bicycle Association (CBA) responded with an official statement on April 12 2016. CBA Director Mr. Ma Zhongchao spoke out in support of Dr. David Hon’s letter, stating that for Shenzhen and other municipalities to take prohibitive action on E-bikes will have a profound and direct impact on local E-bike users.
Mr. Ma said that a “one size fits all” approach reflects lazy political thinking and that this simple and crude solution is not the first of its type. The bicycle industry has strongly expressed its opposition to such legislation in the past and has repeatedly stressed that local governments and authorities should think twice, act intelligently and with greater courage to address urban management problems. Mr. Ma shared that although the CBA’s concerns regarding the regulations were recently submitted to the Guangzhou Municipal People’s Congress for consideration, they are yet to receive any feedback.
Mr. Ma told reporters that empathy for the livelihood needs of ordinary people must be taken into account as well as and the facilitation of less stressful commuting. Cities need tangible measures to protect the legitimate rights of way of various means of transport, eschewing costly, car-centric systems. He continued to state that the CBA has never opposed standardized management and has no objection to reasonable limiting measures.
The ban on E-bikes has caused widespread discontent and confusion among the Chinese population. The decision is particularly harmful to the poor and appears entirely at odds with the government’s stated policy to promote green energy and cut pollution. Electric bikes are prohibited on ten major Beijing streets and across Shenzhen, Guangzhou, and other major cities. Mr. Ma Zhongchao and Dr. David Hon were clear that all told, there is no reason to forbid the use of electric bikes. As the experience of many other countries such as Sweden and Denmark have shown, mainland China should encourage the use of bicycles, traditional or electric, to help cut back on traffic and smog.
“A Public Letter from DAHON Founder, Dr. David Hon:
An alternative view on forbidding E-bikes in China
Following legislation in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, it has been reported that Shenzhen may also start to limit the use of electric bikes. Chinese people are getting wealthier and buying more and more cars, which as we know has caused many problems, such as heavy traffic, serious air pollution and poor physical health in big cities. In fact a highly viable alternative to fossil fuel powered vehicles is already available; bicycles and e-bicycles together with public transit form a good system and a true solution to the problem. The people and governments of Japan and Europe have already made many long-term environmental protection strategies, whilst at the same time making every effort to push energy saving and emission reducing transportation methods. All of these have been proven to perform well. Of Course, China has not been absent from the movement for international environmental protection, with the 11th five-year report (the Chinese government’s five-year development plan) having issued and formulated related goals and budgets towards environmental concerns.
China is the world’s largest manufacturer of bicycles and electric vehicles, with sales of up to 80,000,000 units, accounting for 80% of global turnover. However, there are some cities that are running counter to science and national policy. Why? It is said that citizens themselves have a poor reputation for electric bike safety, further that masses of e-bikes negatively affect a city’s beauty, and finally that battery recycling is mishandled and leads to pollution. But why don’t we instead set up laws more conducive to environmental protection? We could require e-bike riders to obtain a license, and enact severe punishment when they violate the traffic laws. Some may say that there are not enough police officers for this law. Compared with the USA, China employs six times more civil servants in the police force – the biggest quantity in the world. If governments can put more resources into this, I think we can do it well, right?
Above all, has the government thought about the influence on the ordinary people’s income and private life? Have they surveyed the detriment to GDP that will surely follow from such laws (some ordinary people will think it must be prodigious, but the government can enact a comprehensive report)? Does it not follow that more people buying more cars, or riding more often in taxis, will cause pollution to increase? How much money would we need to fix this? People who can not afford to buy a car will lose their job; should their lives become more burdened? How can poor people become wealthy? It is not easy to run a country, many contradictions can not be avoided, but we need to consider things over and over again, and make decisions based on science.
Following the second world war, many advanced countries have been pushing Green Transport and environmental policies. Velo-city, an annual conference founded in Berlin in 1980, has gained much experience and made valuable progress in the field over the years. The conference has a well established history and also achieves real results, and has recently begun collaborating with the China Bicycle Association. We are not sure if the related civil law enforcement authorities have consulted domestic and foreign specialists with an honest and open mind. If possible, they can cooperate with the China Bicycle Association and make a holistic analysis and measurement, in-keeping with the country’s goal of energy conversation and emissions reduction. This method would allow every municipal government make a long term and valid contribution. In this way, once the legislation is formulated and strictly enforced, we must be successful!”
In 1982, DAHON ignited the folding bicycle revolution with the introduction of the DAHON Convertible, the forefather of most modern-day folding bicycles. Today, DAHON is recognized as a world leader. Spearheaded by the guiding principles of innovation, reinvention and technological leadership, DAHON is committed to creating quality product, a unique riding experience and green mobility solutions for people leading active, environmentally friendly lifestyles. Headquartered in California, DAHON’s offices, factories, cooperating assembly plants and distributing partner network reaches around the world. For more information regarding DAHON’s products, please visit www.dahon.com.