In China hundreds of thousands of people lose their lives and are injured each year due to road traffic crashes. Road traffic injuries are the leading cause of death for persons aged between 15-44. This group accounts for more than half of all road user deaths. Vulnerable road users (pedistratians, motorcyclistst and cyclists) account for the majority of deaths. In rural areas , riders of motorbikes and bicycles are at risk of injury and death on unsafe roadways. The growth in the use of E-bikes is an emerging issue. Improving road safety throughout China involves a systematic approach to all relevant factors: the environment, the vehicle and the user. Focusing on the user, road safety programmes are increasing public awareness or risks, advocating appropriate legislation an supporting local legislation to better enforce existing laws.
Speed has been identified as a key risk factor in road traffic injuries in China. It accounts for 14% of all crashes resulting in death and influences both the risk of a crash and the severity of the injuries. Pedestrians have been shown to have a 90% chance of survival when struck by a car travelling at 30 km/h or below, but less than a 50% chance of surviving an impact of 45 km/h. Pedestrians have almost no chance of surviving an impact at 80 km/h. Speed enforcement activities are targeted at locations where and at times when drivers are likely to be speeding. Mobile and fixed speed cameras are being uses.
Driving under the influence of alcohol increases both the risk of a crash and the likelihood that death or serious injury will result. The risk of being involved in a crash increases significantly above a blood alcohol concentration of 0.04 g/dl. Laws that establish BAC’s of 0.05g/dl or below are effective at reducing the number of alcohol related crashes. In 2011, China implemented new legislation for drink driving (0.02 ml – 0.08 ml/100 ml) and drink driving > 0.08 ml/100. This was watershed moment for drink-driving policy in China. Drink drivers risk the seizure of their driving license and a fine. Drivers can be detained until sober and lose their license for five years. Drunk drivers involved in severe accidents face criminal charged and the loss of their license for life.
There is a growing trend toward the use of electric bikes. By 2011 there were 120 mln e-bike registered in China, and the number is forecast to increase. The majority of e-bikes on China’s roads are capable of speeds in excess of the 20 km/hr. While the use of e-bikes has the potential to reduce environmental pollution, research indicates they have a significant impact on road crashes, facilities and injuries.