12 May DAHON Founder and CEO Dr. David Hon Once More Speaks Out Against E-bike Ban
Dr. David Hon expands on his recent letter criticizing policies that forbid the use of E-bikes across large swathes of Chinese cities, aiming to keep the topic firmly on the table in hopes of a viable alternative.
“A recent Hongkong TV station (Phoenix) hosted an hour-long debate on the burning question: “should China forbid the use of e-bikes”. Many people on both sides of the issue raised a great deal of meaningful ideas and commentary, but personally (as a physicist-turned-industrialist), I did not see any convincing scientific argument, or hear of any such reports anywhere else in China. I recently wrote an open letter on the matter, speaking out against the E-bike ban and have a little more to say on the topic.
Climate change is impacting China heavily, with smog becoming the norm over blue skies. Environmental degradation has become a serious topic for humanity. Governments all over the world, including China, are issuing pollution control policies. In big cities in China, some sort of improved management of E-bikes may still be necessary. Public safety is good for all citizens, and is also one of the most important jobs for any city government. To be fair, we cannot ask the traffic departments to always design optimal policies reflecting the latest national policy, but we can expect that the policy be more in keeping with scientific spirit.
Undeniably, the 220,000,000 E-bikes in use all over China have fast become inextricably linked to the life and work styles of most middle-low income families over the last decade. E-bikes have become a vehicle for entrepreneurship in many conceivable forms, and their use does make a great and growing contribution to GDP. In the meantime, the world at large has imported ever increasing quantities of e- bikes from China because it is recognized to be an important element for environmental protection. By contrast, our simpleminded ban on certain uses of E-bikes appears ironic or worse!
Pollution control is now official national policy, but these things are easier pledged than done! Especially for such far-reaching problems. Instead of allowing each city to make their own policies, the issue should be studied holistically and scientifically. Presumably the central government has already come up with a preliminary target and blueprint for pollution control – for decades to come. They must have covered topics like public transportation, personal vehicles, city planning and construction, new energy, new technology, national economy, employment, politics, public safety and legislation, etc. Each aspect is intimately interwoven with the others. Presumably there still are many details that need to be filled in. But one may ask: “Is the budget and staffing quality sufficient? Is the target clear? Is the approach scientific? Is the blueprint practicable?”.
We suggest that related departments dedicate some of the hundreds of millions of yuan in special funds for pollution control to E-bikes of different kinds. Political, industrial and academic experts should be gathered together to research all aspects of the issue. We should refer to the experience of advanced nations in Japan and Europe, collect good ideas, and host regular international conferences. Social science should be employed to provide powerful and convincing arguments; revolutionary spirit should be rekindled in tackling this weighty and shifty issue. Only in this way can we beef up and eventually implement the existing national blueprint.
Allowing local governments the latitude to try out policies may sometimes be expedient or necessary. But the E-bike issue is too far-reaching and has been dragged out for too long, it is high time for the central government to step in for leadership!”
— DAHON (@DahonBikes) April 25, 2016