Love whizzing around on your e-bike with the wind through your hair? Well, come June 1, China’s new traffic policy requires helmets for all electric scooter riders.
It may be a good time to invest in the helmet business, as prices are expected to soar in the short term, reports Global Times. Before April, helmets retailed for around RMB30; now the average price is higher than RMB80.
The rush to buy helmets was stoked by the ‘One Helmet and One Belt’ intiative released by the Traffic Management Bureau of the Ministry of Public Security in mid-April. Additionally, scalpers who made quick money by stockpiling masks during COVID-19 reportedly spoke with helmet manufacturers as they caught wind of the new policy.
Although motorcyclists are required to wear helmets, this is the first time electric scooters riders must as well. As of June 2019, there were 250 million registered electric scooters in China. Taking unregistered riders into account, Global Times estimates “that number could be as high as 300 million.” Of that total, only 30% of riders wear helmets.
Last summer, even NBA superstar James Harden was pulled over on the streets of Shanghai for not wearing a helmet while riding a scooter (in addition to driving on the wrong side of the road). It seems that Chinese authorities have been trying to tighten up scooter regulations in the past few years, doling out traffic violations in addition to mandating proper registration and licensing.
Lastly, it is important to always buy a helmet from a registered or reputable outlet, as fake helmets can be hazardous in an accident. There is currently no national standard for electric scooter helmet safety; it is recommended, however, to try to choose a heavier solid shell, a product with foam cushion lining or a motorcycle helmet if possible.
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