The trials of owning a vehicle in China - as a foreigner
Driving is chabuduo easy here in Beijing, with the exception of occasional super heavy traffic that really tire you out. Traffic rules are (generally) commonsense - I say that lightly of course. I’ve had good luck with traffic police even - never been stopped - I’ve been on the road for 4+ years now. Note: unlike some people, I don’t go out of my way to do something illegal - especially when there are traffic police near by! It isn’t until it comes with dealing with administrative crap that becomes a chore. This includes renewing registration, getting the bike inspected, getting lost/stolen things replaced (thanks Melanie for helping me to get my new plates!), etc. This is because there is pretty much zero documentation or help in English - unless you want to pay money to an English-speaking “agent” to help you out. I prefer not to spend any more money than I need to, and I’d like to learn how this stuff works! Last week Friday I had to take a taxi to work because on Thursday night on the way home, my motorbike developed a small, but soon-to-be-serious problem - one of my gaskets blew - or a small hole developed that would most certainly eventually burst causing ~75% power loss. This is something I didn’t want to happen en route to the office so I decided to take the cab. Now, Thursday night was a rather late night, and I woke up earlier than usual so I could be sure to get a taxi in the morning. So, I was about 50% awake. Well, for some strange reason I brought both my driver’s license and bike registration booklets to work that day. Not really necessary, but again, I was asleep. They’re small enough to put in my pocket so easy to carry. Well, in the taxi, I brought my ipod to listen to music - and I think when taking the ipod out of my pocket, the motorbike registration booklet must have fallen out. Of course, I didn’t realize this until I was up in my office, and of course I didn’t take the taxi receipt! So, I’m out of luck. 3 things I lost:
- The registration card of the motorbike. This is the driver’s license-sized laminated card with the relevant information of the bike (engine number, frame number, owner’s name - mine, address - my first address in Beijing 4 years ago, etc.) On the back it has a photo of the bike. I can get this replaced but it’d going to be an adventure because I’ll need to go to the Beijing Traffic Bureau office to get it replaced. Yes, they have a “foreigner” office, but last time I went (to get my stolen license plates replaced), no one spoke English. So this will be an adventure.
- Proof of insurance - this is a small card that proves I have insurance. I have the A4 sized documentation at home, but it’s nice to be carrying a card. I am not sure if I am going to bother getting a new card - most likely i’ll just photo copy the original documentation and keep it with me. I’ll get a new card early next year any way…
- The card I use to access my office’s underground parking lot. I’m getting this replaced today, at an expense of 50 RMB. This is the easiest thing to get replaced.
So, I’ll provide updates to document the process of getting this “blue book”, or motorbike registration booklet replaced.