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Headlights okay at last

China has finally seen the light about headlights.

After years of harrassing drivers who dare to break the law by using their headlights at night, the public security bureau in Peking has decided that sidelights are not enough after all.

foreigners living in the Chinese capital yesterday officially received the new regulations making the use of headlights at night compulsory.

The new rule comes as a great a relief for the few drivers in Peking, including myself, who have been breaking the law every night in an effort to avoid hitting the myriad cyclists and pedestrians wandering about on the city’s dimly-lit roads.

In the past, people who used their headlights at night were often stopped by policemen and given a strong talking-to.

Some Chinese lorry drivers still have a frightening habit of swerving briefly into the path of on-coming cars using headlights to scare them into turning their lights off.

The official explanation for the ban on headlights in the past was that they dazzled cyclists.

That doesn’t make much sense until you know that Chinese cars and lorries generally have only sidelights and high-beam headlights. the high-beam/low-beam switch is a recent innovation found only on imported cars.

another new traffic regulation announced this week forbids drivers from honking their horns along 23 of the city’s major roads and in Peking’s two embassy districts.

However, the police clearly realise that the use of the horn by drivers is often necessary in Peking’s chaotic traffic, and noted in the regulations that “pedestrians and cyclists must obey the law and make it possible for drivers to avoid using their horns.”

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