The driver's license has been obtained, the car has been rented, and the kids are stowed in their new child seats. Now it can start: The first exit in Beijing. After the first operation of the electric window regulator, the window gets stuck halay up and no longer moves. So the driver and the children have no choice but to keep their caps on during the ride.
Cars, pedestrians, bicycles and other motorized and non-motorized companions want to throw themselves in front of the car constantly and from all directions. Driving is like playing a computer game. One drives more carefully and is prepared for everything, and slowly one gets a feeling for the inner logic of the traffic. The weaker, meaning pedestrians, bicycles, etc. Have no priority, but if they are in groups, they take their right. If you give pedestrians their legally protected right of way, you cause chaos, because they don't trust drivers and stay on their side of the road, even if you wave at them. In fairness, it should be pointed out that traffic regulation in Beijing still compares quite favorably with other Asian megacities.
But there are traffic rules. The holder of a foreign valid driver's license can obtain a Chinese driver's license by passing a theoretical test. To prepare for the race, you delve into the 1000-question manual. During the test, 100 of these questions are selected at random, and 90% of them must be answered correctly.
The English version of this manual is a mystery in itself. The translation is so bad that in many cases you only remember the answers because they are worded so peculiarly, not because you understood their meaning.
When a motor vehicle is parked outside of a parking lot, in a construction site:
A. It is not permitted to park.
B. It is permitted to park temporarily.
C. It is not permitted to park for a long time.
One would not advise anyone in their right mind to park in a construction site, but it is certainly even more dangerous to park inside the construction site, outside the parking lot.
Then there is this cyclist, who often appears in the manual and wants to hold on to a car at all costs. A Chinese form of extreme sport?
When a bicycle rider grasps a motor vehicle, the driver of the motor vehicle should:
A. Accelerate to get rid of the bicycle rider.
B. Stop immediately.
C. Stop smoothly.
But the most heartbreaking chapter is: Driving with civility and professional ethics. Drivers should not wear slippers when driving, not only for safety reasons, but because it is rude to do so. Spitting is done in bags, other drivers should not be given swear words, etc. If you are still annoyed by them, you should not drive in anger.
On the whole, the rules are understandable after all. In China it is allowed to turn right at red. There is a point system. Points are deducted from 12 points annually for various offences. If all points are lost, a test must be taken once again. It is still strikingly different that at an intersection the left-turning driver has priority over the oncoming right-turning driver who will end up with him in the same lane. However, it was not clear from the rules and the driving behavior whether left-turning traffic has priority over straight traffic at intersections. In reality, when the traffic light turns green, left-turners immediately step on the gas to get through the intersection ahead of the oncoming crowd.
The acquisition of a driver's license
There are two organizations in Beijing that take care of the formalities of applying for a driver's license: Beijing Easy www.Beijing-easy.Com and FESCO www.Fesco.Com.Cn/english. Their service includes translating the driver's license into Chinese, filling out the forms, sticking the passport photos in the designated place, and transporting them to the health examination and traffic office (Foreign Affairs Department of Beijing Motor Vehicle Administration, open Mon-Fri 8:30 to 17:00 www.Bjjtgl.Gov.Cn). For this you pay 800 yuan at both organizations. You could say that you are being ripped off, especially if you take into account that at Beijing Easy you have to translate the German driver's license yourself and that the manual is not only incomprehensible, but also poorly copied. All that really remains is to fill in the forms, stick on the photos and transport the material. The health screening includes only one eye test (visual acuity test and verification of the ability to distinguish between green and red). It is highly recommended to organize this whole process by yourself if you have enough time, as it will save you a few hundred yuan.
The examination is held on a computer. The questions of each individual examinee are randomly selected. You can choose from several languages, including German. However, it is not advisable to take the exam in German if you have prepared in English, as you have already become accustomed to the English mistakes. Who knows what the German translation offers. After successfully passing the exam, one can pick up the driver's license after five working days.