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One of the (not so) fun things about China is that almost everything needs to be licenced.
As part of the China bureaucracy plan, all forms of wheeled transport in Shanghai require a licence (yes, even bicycles!).

Riding motorized transport without one is not recommended, as this can lead to fines, deportation, and jail in worst case scenario’s.
This has been documented enough times by those unfortunate enough to knowingly break the law.

Electric Bikes/ Scooters are not exempt from requiring a licence, despite what the nice man at the shop selling you the bike, or others might say.

To be street legal in Shanghai, you need a plate.

1) Only bikes purchased in Shanghai can get a Shanghai plate.
Keep your official receipt (fapiao) when you buy the bike, as it needs to be used to get your licence.

2) As of a law passed in April 2008, Shanghai Electric bikes have to be:

* Under 40kg.
* Not capable of speeds faster than 20km/hr.
Effectively this means only bikes < 36v. * Listed in the allowed vehicle database for Shanghai. Legal bikes have a 15 digit unicode (like a car VIN) which is unique. Manufacturers have to apply for a production licence for this, and not all have done so. A list of licenced manufacturers is available here:

If you own a bike that is older than that date that does not conform to the above, and you had a legal licence at that time, then it can be renewed each year, and its still legal.

3) To licence an electric bike/scooter/moped you need to visit the police station for your district.

You will need to bring:

* – The fapiao for the bike
* – Valid form of ID (Passport for foreigners)
* – The bike
* – Money to pay for the licence (11rmb currently)



Can I use a legal plate from another province?
eg Jiangsu…
Possibly No, with some caveats –
It is not legal to ride with an out of town plate unless it is a weekend, or public holiday. You can be fined 200RMB if caught riding outside of these times, although this is unlikely. This is a grey area though, so police attitude to this may vary/change. While having a plate is better than not having a plate, it may not help if you have an accident.

Can I carry a passenger?
According to the law, no.

Is is illegal to drive without a plate?
Yes. Being a foreigner does not exclude you from following the law.

Do I need a driving licence for an electric bike/moped/scooter?

Is there an official list of legal bikes?
There are 2 official sites where you can check if a bike is legal – and http:/

A current list of legal bikes with photo’s is here:

You will need Chinese reading abilities to read either site.

Instructions below for non illiterate:

市民在购买电动自行车时,可以通过上海市自行车行业协会网站上(HTTP://WWW.SHBICYCLE.COM),或上海交通安全信息网(网址: HTTP://WWW.SHJTAQ.COM,点击首页右上方的 “车/牌/证公告”栏目中的“上海电动自行车—上牌备案登记表”)查询该目录。

Are the cool Vespa lookalikes legal?
The Vespa lookalikes / Spicy Motors bikes are not street legal for various reasons – weight, voltage, speed (unless you have a 2008 model licenced prior to 8/2008).
Additionally, they are not listed in the police database of allowed models.

…but XXX / Bike shop / my friend etc says its legal?
In short: They’re lying.

If you are in living a city other than Shanghai this may be ok.
Different cities, different rules.
If the bike is 2nd hand, and has an existing legal Shanghai licence, and it has been renewed each year, then it is also ok (albeit extremely unlikely).
Otherwise, see the short answer.

What about repair / warranty?
By Law, bikes have a “三包” (threefold warranty).

If you have issues within 7 days the seller is legally obligated to give your money back if you so wish.
Within 2 weeks, you are guaranteed a replacement bike.
Within 1 year, if you have more than 2 of the same type of failure, they have to replace, or you can get your money back less depreciation.
Consumables such as lights are not covered by this, nor are collisions..

Parts have the following warranties (by law):
Motor: 2 years
Frame, Fork, Charger, Controller, Battery: 1 year

*For batteries, failure is deemed as holding < 60% of original charge. More details here:

Note that it is while it is illegal for shops to sell bikes that cannot be licensed, many still do.

Where can I licence my electric [bike/scooter/moped]?

Addresses for each district:

Bao Shan
宝山区 凇兴西路长征新村23号 56672872

Chang Ning District:

No 12, Lane 11, Tian Shan Lu

Hong Kou:
上午8:30—11:30;下午13:30—17:00 周五下午不
受理 65161561

Feng Zhen lu / 1656 Shui Dian Lu
Closed Friday morning.

Huang Pu District:

49 South Shan Dong rd

Jing An

372 Chang Ping road (off Shaanxi road)

Lu Wan District:
思南路、香山路 交界拐角处--卢湾区非机动车管理处
卢湾区 思南路46号 63275000
46 Si Nan lu / Xiang Shan lu

Min Hang District:
6489 1010-3015

4888 Hu Min lu

Nan Hui District:


Nan Shi District (Southern parts of City?):
南市区 中山南一路161弄5号 63138859

Pu Dong District:
上海市浦东新区杨高中路1500号上午:9:00—11:30;下午13:30—16:30 周五下午不受理电话28946594
浦东新区 浦东南路3640号 58394097

1500 Yang Gao Middle Road
3640 Pudong South Road

Putuo District:
芦定路325号 52811677

Xu Hui District:
2388/2138 Long Wu Lu, underneath Xu Pu bridge

徐汇区 龙吴路2138号(徐浦大桥) 64340579

Yang Pu District:

上午8:30—11:30;下午13:30—17:00 周五下午不
受理 63172110

Also 闸北区 共和新路1985号 56650065

707 Tian Mu Middle Road