Car Rental in China
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When renting a car in China you will first have to choose what type of vehicle you want for example: Mini, Economy, Compact, Intermediate, Standard, Full-Size, Premium, Luxury, Minivans / MPVs or other vehicles such as trucks and special vehicles.
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You cannot drive with an International Driver's Permit in mainland China; China has not signed the convention which created IDPs. You need a Chinese license to drive in China.
However, this will change in early 2007. Guests from abroad may drive Chinese vehicles following a quick hour-long traffic law briefing. Your license, however, will be time-limited.
PRC laws say that foreign residents can have driver's licences and that an IDP can be converted to a local licence, possibly with an additional examination. Actually getting a license may be complicated. The particular complications seem to vary from place to place and over time. Some people have been asked to take a written test in Chinese. Others get a bilingual test form, or are allowed to bring a translator. Sometimes you can be excused the actual driving test if you have a foreign license, sometimes not. Some foreigners report that Chinese friends suggested a small gift to the local officials and it helped greatly; others have been told by their Chinese friends that such a move would be foolish and dangerous.
In Chengdu, a Chinese driving licence is issued if you can achieve a pass rate of 90% in the computerized theory test of one hundred (mostly) multiple choice questions. Tests are available in Chinese, English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish & so on. If you do not pass at 90%, you can do a second test without paying any further fee.
Note, however, that at least in some cities electric scooters are legally treated as bicycles. You do need to register the vehicle, but only with a bicycle license which is cheaper and easier than a motorcycle license. You do not need a driver's license to ride it. There may be restrictions in where you can ride it, e.g. not in the main traffic lanes.
In mainland China the traffic drives on the right-hand side of the road. Various neighbors - Hong Kong, Macau, India, Nepal and Pakistan - drive on the left; beware of the transitions!
The official driving code in the People's Republic of China is the Road Traffic Safety Law of the People's Republic of China. It applies for all vehicles in China, except military vehicles. A vehicle with a military license plate will not follow any rule. It may not stop at a red light, or it might go from the wrong direction.
There is a supplementary regulation to the Road Traffic Safety Law which specifies how specific regulations in the main law are supposed to be carried out.
Speed limits 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 where there is a major road with central reservation 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 is generally around 10 km/h (6 mph). Some expressways may have tolerance set all the way up to 20 km/h (12 mph); however, anything around 15 km/h (9 mph) to 20 km/h (12 mph) over the stated speed limit is relatively high risk.
Penalties for exceeding the speed limits are as follows:
up to CNY 200 for excess speeds over 10 km/h but under 50% of the speed limit. Example: if driving at 100 km/h (62 mph) in a 80 km/h (50 mph) zone. up to CNY 2,000 and possible loss of license for excess speeds over 50% of the speed limit. Example: if driving at 190 km/h (118 mph) on a 120 km/h (75 mph) expressway.
Speeders are commonly known as biao che.