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Unregulated electric scooters raise risk of traffic accidents

Update: August, 28/2014 - 08:41
An electric biker on HCM City road. Up to 80 per cent of traffic accidents involved electric bikes and motorbikes, said Vice Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee Khuat Viet Hung. — VNA/VNS Photo The Anh

HA NOI (VNS) — The lack of regulations for increasingly popular electric scooters increased the risk of traffic accidents, speakers said at a national conference on Tuesday.

Up to 80 per cent of traffic accidents involved electric bikes and motorbikes, and most of the drivers were under 18, Vice Chairman of the National Traffic Safety Committee Khuat Viet Hung said.

As many as 87 per cent of electric bike riders did not wear helmets, according to a survey carried out by the World Health Organisation in Viet Nam earlier this year.

Nguyen Thi Mai Anh from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs' Department of Child Care and Protection described typical driving practices, saying students often rode electric bikes with as many as three people on a single bike, none of them wearing helmets, and veered unpredictably from side to side.

More than 61,300 electric bicycles and motorbikes were legally imported to Viet Nam between 2009 and May 2014, while millions of others were estimated to have been imported illegally. However, the Ministry of Transport granted technical standard certificates to only 780 electric motorbikes and 24,200 electric bikes. Only 70 vehicles had registered licence plates.

Electric motorbike users were required to have licence plates starting in June under a new Ministry of Public Security regulation. When applying for the plates, users must provide quality certificates and receipts.

The new rule does not apply to electric bicycles that can be pedalled and have maximum speeds of 25km per hour. However, many electric bike users cannot register with authorities anyway because they lack papers certifying vehicle quality, origin or ownership.

Specific regulations for electric scooters would improve traffic safety, as would higher fines for drivers who violated regulations, Deputy Head of the Department of Road and Railway Traffic Police Nguyen Ngoc Tuan said.

Electric motorbikes without plates would be punished like other motorbikes starting next July, said committee vice chairman Hung. The committee would work with relevant agencies to help drivers complete registration procedures before the deadline. — VNS

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