North Korean authorities restrict electric bike usage in some areas due to concerns over power supply
The North Korean authorities in some areas of the country are cracking down on people who are riding electric bicycles without a permit. The authorities appear to be restricting their use as part of broader efforts to limit electricity usage.
“The government has told us since last year not to ride electric bicycles in the Deokchon area without a permit. They seem to be cracking down on electric bicycles because the country has no electricity [to spare],” said a South Pyongan Province-based source on October 22.
“People are siphoning off electricity from local enterprises. The authorities seem to have taken notice of this and are cracking down. Most people have solar panels on their houses, but the panels don’t provide enough energy to recharge their electric bikes on a daily basis.”
North Koreans have long given bribes to factory managers in return for electricity to recharge their electric bikes. As the bikes have gained in popularity, however, there has been a drastic increase in the demand for electricity. Concerned about the shortages, the authorities appear to be responding with restrictions on the use of the bikes.
“You have to obtain a permit to ride an electric bike, but these permits are not given out that easily,” said an additional source in South Pyongan Province. “You have to pay 30,000 North Korean won for the permit, and another 3,000 North Korean won if you want the permit quickly.”
She added that the authorities are “telling people who can walk on foot not to use the bikes because they are only for the elderly and honorably discharged soldiers” and that “[The authorities] will even confiscate the bikes in extreme cases.” ......