When Beijing Policeman Tan, the star of his very own local news segment, stops a motorcyclist because his passenger isn't wearing his helmet, we get an earful on gender norms, hairstyles, and one of our favorite topics -- helmets! See the video below.
While helmets are basically non-existent for bicyclists in China, where a culture of bicycle respect means added safety, they are required by law for those on motorized bikes. But as we know, laws in China aren't always followed to the letter -- especially when motorcyclists are offering rides to anyone who'll pay, another illegal practice.
We like this cop. He's got a bizarre sense of humor, he says what he thinks and he tacitly endorses ride-sharing (even if it's not legal). Most of all, he's serious about road safety:
If we don't follow safety rules, accidents can happen to us...when we are on the road, gender is not important. But we should distinguish between what is the proper thing to do vs. what is improper, what is safe vs. what is dangerous.
We much prefer Policeman Tan's safety lecture to, say, having kids salute passing cars.
Road deaths are the leading cause of death in China for those over 45 years old. Though China estimates its road fatality rate is 7.6 deaths per 100,000 people -- a relatively favorable number compared with the world average of 11 -- the World Health Organization has previously put the number at twice official figures.
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