GENERAL TIPS AND ROAD INFORMATION
China has recently constructed a modern highway system which allows relatively fast travel between the main cities. Traffic drives on the right in mainland China and Taiwan, and on the left in Hong Kong. The physical condition of roads and road maintenance varies greatly from municipality to another. The Chinese climate is generally conducive to motorcycle riding, and bikes are everywhere.
Important: All drivers should be aware of the Chinese regulations regarding traffic accidents. These include the following requirements:
- Do not move vehicles or disturb the scene of the accident unless or until ordered to do so by the traffic police.
- Summon the traffic police and wait at the scene until the police arrive and complete their investigation.
New drivers are often marked with a special label.
ROADS AND MOTORWAYS
In major cities traffic is often congested, even on the myriad of city highways.
It is really nice to drive on the G-level highways (national), S-level highways (provincial) may be less smooth, and X-level highways (county) can be a bit challenging.
Expressways and express routes are excellent, with traffic signs in both English and Chinese. They have emergency facilities, service areas, filling stations, plenty of exits, high speed limits, and traffic jams are few.
RIGHT OF WAY
The concept of right-of-way is very different in China from other countries. Cars do not stop for pedestrians, and making a left turn in front of oncoming vehicles is quite normal.
There are strict parking rules in China to prevent people from parking their vehicles, as a result, traffic is fluid more often than not. There are areas in Shanghai where cars are not allowed, and in other areas the parking charges are very high.
There are penalties for exceeding the speed limits. Speed traps are conveniently identified with the characters (radar speed check zone) or (speeding detection camera).
Speed limits in China are as follows:
30 km/h (19 mph) on city roads where there is only one lane per direction
40 km/h (25 mph) on China National Highways
Up to 70 km/h (43 mph) on city roads with guardrails or two yellow lines
80 km/h (50 mph) on China National Highways
100 km/h (62 mph) on city express roads
120 km/h (75 mph) on expressways.
Tolerance over the speed limit is generally 10 km/h (6 mph)
Beijing municipality is the only administrative unit where there are no tolls on the China National Highways. Elsewhere, there are tolls on the national roads, and sometimes on the provincial roads as well.
An International Driving License may be used on mainland China. PRC laws officially suggest the conversion of the IDL to a local license which may mean an additional examination. However, foreigners with a foreign license do not have to take Stage 2 of the driving tests, which involve reversing, forward driving at low speeds, and car park maneuvers.
You must have your International Driving License with you while driving.
You must purchase, Automobile Liability Insurance, for your vehicle.
Child safety seats are not widely available in China.
Crash helmets are recommended for both motorcycle and bicycle riders, even though it is not mandatory.
USEFUL TELEPHONE NUMBERS
The Firemen -119
Traffic Police 122
The Urban Chinese
U.S. Department of State
China National Tourist Bureau
Travel China Guide