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  1. #1 How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
    Senior C-Moto Guru ZMC888's Avatar
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    Having an accident in China can be extremely complex, expensive and upsetting, especially as to your point of view you may have been 0% at fault but it could still cost you a lot of money. If you are a new rider and/or new to China read carefully, if you have lived in China and have ridden here for a while please give feedback and share your thoughts and experiences.

    Are you Injured?
    Play hurt if needed and stay on the ground and demand a big payout, possibly take photos of the scene and claim you were not at fault. Start at $2000(USD) per broken limb $200 per cut or bruise, damage to the bike, loss of income etc. This is because the other party will try to withhold the cost of damage to their vehicle. If your 'damage' is greater than theirs you get money or at least don't lose money as blame is established by percentages. If a car driver that hits you is blamed their car will be impounded until they pay the settlement to you. The same will happen if you are blamed, no bike until you pay.

    Is someone else injured?
    If someone else has been injured this is probably because they are another motorcyclist, ebike rider, cyclist or pedestrian. In this case things could get expensive and nasty, police will apportion blame, their opinion is the law and you cannot appeal, you may be blamed regardless of what you know about traffic law from other countries or even China, although there could be some arbitration involved in the final settlement. Be prepared to be forced to pay when the police arrive or at a later time. Take photos, try to prove that the other party was in the wrong. Are you sure that they hadn't been drinking, have a license for their vehicle etc?

    Just damage?
    If the other party is willing money can be exchanged and everyone can go home. It could be easier just to pay and leave, even if you were not at fault if not to waste time, in which case haggle lower. This however might not suit everyone's taste. Many people have just left the scene, but there can be serious consequences and is not recommended.

    Run or not?
    Don't run in the event of injury to anyone other than yourself, especially because of lack of insurance, license or registration. For motorcycles in China these are usually considered misdemeanors requiring a small fine and possible impounding of the bike in most provinces, although potentially under the law the police can enforce 10 day detention, but this is very unusual outside of Shanghai. The consequences for fleeing an accident when some one has been injured are much more severe.

    Get away legally, ASAP
    Very quickly agreeing or doing something that seemed like you were agreeing paying and leaving could be a wise move before crowds and authorities show up, in the event of a collision with a pedestrian, is almost certainly a smart move. You may know that the other party, lets say a pedestrian has run out into the road without looking, but it's hard to prove, so you'll just end up paying for their injury regardless. Cases have shown, the longer that the money issue takes to be resolved, the more expensive it will become.

    Getting around the language barrier
    If your Chinese is less than fluent always carry a cell-phone and get a Chinese sim card in it. If you have any English/Chinese speaking acquaintances or friends even ones you have met briefly get them on speed-dial and call them if you need to negotiate via phone or if possible come down to help with your side of the case. Wealthy friends that work for local government, police, insurance companies or local mafia are particularly useful. Promise a dinner, free English teaching etc if they help you out.

    About insurance
    The compulsory motorcycle insurance that comes with registration in China is not as useful as it could be as it only covers 3rd party injury. Emergency health treatment usually needs to paid for up front for and then the insured parties are paid back by their insurance companies. So in other words pay for anyone hurt from your own pocket ASAP, pay for treatment and keep the receipts or copies of them if possible. Vehicular damage will be paid by you as you are not covered under basic compulsory Chinese motorcycle insurance if you are deemed at fault. Your vehicular damage will be paid by the other parties' insurance if they have insurance and are deemed at fault. Always keep your compulsory Chinese motorcycle insurance up to date, if someone is unhappy with the outcome of a personal injury claim they may attempt to sue you, which could mean major hassles, if you are insured the insurance company can deal with this. Also personal injury claims can get very expensive very quickly as some people believe that it is a money making opportunity and will falsify medical bills, personal distress, loss of income etc. Insurance companies can keep a lid on this excessive claiming culture as they deal with them everyday. If you have travel insurance documents keep them on you. There are other policies available providing additional cover discussed in this thread.

    About hospitals
    Hospitals have been improving in China but generally they offer a much lower service level than in the west. Doctors expect an extra 'tip' for services to be done properly. Ambulances are expensive and people are generally unlikely to help you because they don't want to be involved as they feel they will be made to pay. Make it clear you have enough money to pay for your own health care, and absolutely have the name and address of a contact number such as your embassy or significant other on your person or written on your helmet in Chinese. Bring cash sealed in clear plastic, any known foreign currency or Chinese yuan so that if you end up unconscious and in hospital they can treat you without wondering where the money will come from.

    Get away and stay away
    Once there has been a legal settlement on the scene of an accident it doesn't automatically mean everything is over, if legal recourse doesn't pay what people feel they are owed, or they feel a verdict was unfairly wrong they may resort to the services of someone who is of 'low character'. I have never heard of a case where a foreigner was involved, however I know a case involving two locals where one was ordered to pay 200 yuan in compensation to a party they had injured by a court. The injured party sent 20 'mafia' to extort 10,000 yuan, which is what they felt they were owed. So don't give out addresses unnecessarily or allow yourself or bike to be seen in the area for a while afterward.

    These notes are a 'best guess' from living in China for 10 years and being part of the motorcycling community. Whilst trying to make the guide as helpful as possible it may not be complete or legally correct. If you know that any information is incorrect or suspect that any is, please comment in this thread so that this original post can be updated.
    Last edited by ZMC888; 04-27-2012 at 01:58 AM. Reason: re-write - insurance
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  2. #2 Re: How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
    Senior C-Moto Guru
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    Thanks. This post should be made extra-sticky, a must read for everyone getting a bike here.
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  3. #3 Re: How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
    Senior C-Moto Guru Gardo's Avatar
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    Awesome amount of information, good things to consider as a visitor to China.
    Gardo northern NJ/NYC
    CCW tha Heist tha Widow
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  4. #4 Re: How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
    C-Moto Guru Fred's Avatar
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    Lots of useful info, thanks.

    But 1 disagreement and 1 remark :

    Disagreement : advising foreigners to "pay out" or to show USD bills is not the solution according to me, it only reinforces the problem. I know I know, I've been in China for a while now, and I know what you meant here. But my point is that paying out too easily to avoid problems only encourage this kind of behaviour in the future from Chinese towards foreigners. Stick to the first point you made, play by their rules : ask for compensation too, don't settle for giving money if you think you did nothing wrong at all.
    I know several cases of foreigners not wanting to "pay out" when they did nothing wrong. The police came, threatened to impound both cars if the foreigner didn't pay what the other party was asking for. In all those cases, the foreigner then just handed out the key "ok let's impound them", which took completely the other party by surprise and they massively reduced the amount they were asking or abandoned all together their claims... Food for thoughts.

    Remark about insurance : it's true that the basic insurance you can buy at the bike shop is useless, and only for the third party. That is, if you settle for this kind of shitty insurance...
    I decided for both bikes I owned in Shanghai, for the pillion I was regularly taking with me and for me, that I would do more. I now pay RMB 1,500/year to PICC for compensations up to RMB 500,000 for the rider (me) and up to RMB 200,000 for the pillion. I understood that this was the most I could get in China. It's not a lot, but much better than the basic insurance you get for RMB 120/year.
    My point being that you can get better insurance in China which can cover some of your medical expenses.

    Cheers,
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  5. #5 Re: How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
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    @Fred
    Agree on insuarnce - and they pay, but you need Chinese skills or Chinese helper to handle it.
    My expirece is from car accidents where even the people adapt their stories so that the both insurances are paying the oponents case.
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  6. #6 Re: How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
    Senior C-Moto Guru euphonius's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by andre555 View Post
    @Fred
    Agree on insuarnce - and they pay, but you need Chinese skills or Chinese helper to handle it.
    My expirece is from car accidents where even the people adapt their stories so that the both insurances are paying the oponents case.
    Interesting comments about insurance, and this could even merit a new thread. Inspired by a comment from ChinaV about buying extra coverage, I tried to do the same thing for my Jialing at my insurer, which I think also is PICC. They sold me a slightly improved policy with third party coverage up to 100k for an extra 112 rmb (which is way less than 1500 rmb). Very easy to do. But then Motokai tried to get the same thing, and they said it was only for cars, not motorcycles. Same office, but different clerk. Finally, he prevailed, but only after obliging them to dig out my policy.

    Yes, the standard policy is laughably cheap and easy, but what's it really worth?

    How about we drag this discussion over into a thread called Motorcycle insurance in China?

    cheers
    jkp
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    2010 JH600 "Merkin Muffley" (in Shanghai)
    2000 KLR650 "Feezer Ablanalp" (in California)
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  7. #7 Re: How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
    Senior C-Moto Guru bigdamo's Avatar
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    What about thread just for insurance in China.

    I think I just got ripped I payed 2200 rmb a year(the price will go up next year because of my age) for a coverage of 500,000 rmb.

    That was for if I get injured ,sick or die and have to go to hospital or the cemetery which ever is the case.Doesn't matter if I get injured riding a motorcycle, driving a car or skiing.
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  8. #8 Re: How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
    Life Is Good! ChinaV's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigdamo View Post
    I think I just got ripped I payed 2200 rmb a year(the price will go up next year because of my age) for a coverage of 500,000 rmb
    That's a great price, 2200 wouldn't even get you a month of insurance in America and 500,000 would last about 10 minutes in an emergency room. I think you did good and that's money well spent.

    If we're going to go off on an insurance thread, let's be sure to separate it into Automotive, Health, Property, etc.

    Cheers!
    ChinaV
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  9. #9 Re: How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
    Senior C-Moto Guru ZMC888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fred
    But 1 disagreement and 1 remark :

    Disagreement : advising foreigners to "pay out" or to show USD bills is not the solution according to me, it only reinforces the problem. I know I know, I've been in China for a while now, and I know what you meant here. But my point is that paying out too easily to avoid problems only encourage this kind of behaviour in the future from Chinese towards foreigners. Stick to the first point you made, play by their rules : ask for compensation too, don't settle for giving money if you think you did nothing wrong at all.
    I know several cases of foreigners not wanting to "pay out" when they did nothing wrong. The police came, threatened to impound both cars if the foreigner didn't pay what the other party was asking for. In all those cases, the foreigner then just handed out the key "ok let's impound them", which took completely the other party by surprise and they massively reduced the amount they were asking or abandoned all together their claims... Food for thoughts.
    No, I'm not saying that foreigners should always pay out. Not your fault? Act hurt, demand money. Maybe a bit your fault? Pay and go ASAP. Someone else hurt? Pay and go ASAP. Simple.

    If someone is hurt then someone pays, this is how it works, there is mostly no anti-laowei conspiracy, at least in the city I live in, but I can't speak for Shanghai. I've seen how it works with Chinese drivers. Some new foreigners think that because things work differently here then it means that they are being targeted to be screwed over and unfairly treated. Of course that does happen, but what happens to Chinese drivers/riders etc is often clearly unfair to our understanding of traffic law. I really am saying 'except only equal treatment'.

    If there is only damage and no injury I have said to Chinese drivers/riders in the past in Chinese: 'you ain't getting a penny, because you were'........on the wrong side of the road/weren't looking where you were going etc 'are you gonna pay me? Uh no? You're blaming me? You can get f***ed' then just leave. But it didn't want to suggest that, because it is potentially something that could land you in trouble with the police or mafia, and I've been lucky to have had no consequences the thankfully few times this has happened.

    +1
    On new thread on how to get optional extra motorcycle insurance from the PICC, like Motokai I was told there was no such thing when I asked, and that the basic was all you can get, but that was a few years ago.
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  10. #10 Re: How to be prepared for a motorcycle accident in China 
    Senior C-Moto Guru bigdamo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ChinaV View Post
    That's a great price, 2200 wouldn't even get you a month of insurance in America and 500,000 would last about 10 minutes in an emergency room. I think you did good and that's money well spent.

    If we're going to go off on an insurance thread, let's be sure to separate it into Automotive, Health, Property, etc.

    Cheers!
    ChinaV
    Is that a good price for China?

    Apparently i am the first western person who has taken out this type of insurance in Xinjiang.Find that hard to believe.

    We approached many insurance companies and they didn't want to know about insuring me.Only one would cover me.

    We are quite a few years behind eastern China though.
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