Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
LCQ19: Illegal sale or use of electric bicycles

     Following is a question by the Hon Christopher Chung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (May 8):


     It has recently been reported in the press that on the cycle tracks, pavements and roads of various districts in Hong Kong, there are people riding electric bicycles, which look like normal bicycles but installed with small motors, at high speeds and carrying passengers and goods, thereby seriously endangering the safety of pedestrians and drivers.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) of the respective numbers of persons who used electric bicycles and shop operators who sold electric bicycles, and were thus arrested, prosecuted and convicted in the past five years;

(b) of the number of reports of accidents involving electric bicycles received by the authorities in the past five years and the respective numbers of injuries and deaths in such accidents;

(c) whether it knows the places of origin and import channels of the electric bicycles mentioned in (b); whether the Customs and Excise Department has taken any special measure to block their import to Hong Kong; and

(d) given that Taiwan, the United Kingdom and various provinces/municipalities on the Mainland permit the use of electric bicycles if certain requirements are complied with, whether the authorities have plans to legalise electric bicycles and impose regulation through a licensing system; if they have, of the details; if they do not have such plan in the short term, whether the Police will step up law enforcement actions against the illegal sale or use of electric bicycles?


     According to the Road Traffic Ordinance (Cap. 374) (the Ordinance), a bicycle means a vehicle with two wheels designed and constructed to be propelled by the use of pedals. Two-wheeled mechanically propelled vehicles (including bicycles equipped with electric motors) are regarded as "motor vehicles" and classified as motor cycles under the Ordinance. All motor vehicles which are to be used on roads must be registered and licensed. In order to be registered and licensed for use on roads, the motor vehicle concerned has to be examined for roadworthiness, i.e. it should be suitable and safe for use on public roads. Motorcyclists must also obtain driving licences for driving motor cycles.

     Regarding the various parts of the Hon Christopher Chung's question, my reply is as follows:

(a) & (b) The Police and Transport Department (TD) have not maintained breakdown figures on illegal use/sale of electric bicycles and accidents involving such vehicles. Therefore, we cannot provide the relevant information.

(c) Currently, there is no legislation against the import of electric bicycles into Hong Kong. The clearance formalities and requirements of such vehicles are no different from those of general imports. However, electric bicycles to be used on roads of Hong Kong have to be registered with and licensed by TD or else their use would be illegal and offenders are subject to prosecution. We have not kept detailed information on places of origin and import channels of imported electric bicycles.

(d) In assessing the roadworthiness of a motor vehicle, the TD will examine the vehicle in accordance with the requirements of the Road Traffic (Construction and Maintenance of Vehicles) Regulations (Cap. 374A) (the C&M Regulations), as well as consider its overall safety and performance on roads, and the impact it has on other vehicles or pedestrians.

     The C&M Regulations require motor cycles, as motor vehicles for use on roads, to be properly designed and constructed, and be equipped with brakes meeting the required efficiency, accurate speedometers, safety glass, warning horns, mirrors, headlamps, front lamps, rear lamps, stop lamps, etc.

     Bicycles equipped with electric motors are not normally designed to the same safety and performance standards as conventional motor cycles. They are normally not considered roadworthy and would not be registered and licensed.  They are also not suitable for use on cycle tracks with other bicycles due to their speed, weight and different method of control. Therefore, the Government currently has no plan to allow the use of electric bicycles on roads of Hong Kong.

     The Government will keep monitoring the situation of illegal use of electric bicycles, and the Police will continue to combat offences of illegal sale/use of electric bicycles under their intelligence-based strategy.

Ends/Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Issued at HKT 12:00


Print this page