Souped-up tricycles being targeted by police

Police have seized 920 unlicensed tricycles since August, 580 of which were "souped-up" with extra power units.

Shanghai's traffic police have launched a series of inspections targeting unlicensed tricycles, especially those "souped-up" with extra power.

Police have seized 920 unlicensed tricycles, 580 of which had extra power units installed.

That practice is dangerous to both the rider and others on the street, police said. Many do so to make their bikes easier to ride as tricycle riders in the city often carry heavy goods which, according to police, is also illegal.

Police said tricycles are originally designed for low speed, and boosting them with extra power can overburden the frame and make it harder to come to a stop. The balance of the bike will be influenced as well. 

Many people die every year in accidents caused by altered tricycles.

At 10am on August 24, Huangpu traffic police set up a checkpoint at the junction of Zhonghua and Guangqi roads, an old town area where many tricycles come and go, carrying bricks from construction sites or collecting junk from local people.

Four were spotted by police within 30 minutes, all installed with extra power. Only one of the tricycle riders had a license, so he was fined 50 yuan (US$7.26). Police told him to remove the power unit immediately.

Another rider, Yu Ruiqing, who was carrying loads of bricks weighing hundreds of kilograms, had his bike seized. A Shanghai Daily reporter noticed the pedals of the bike were removed to make room for an extra battery.

“It can go as fast as 30 kilometers per hour,” Yu said. He used the tricycle to carry construction waste and bricks from sites nearby.

Hu Yifei from the traffic police said they will continue patrolling and setting up checkpoints to crack down on these unlicensed tricycles.

“Furthermore, we will join hands with other official bodies to nab those who help with modifying tricycles,” Hu added. "We will do our best to stop this at the source."

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