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Drivers face fines if breaching Olympic lanes
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Heavy fines will be imposed on motorists who drive in the Olympic traffic reserved lanes during the stipulated period, the Beijing Traffic Management Bureau (BTMB) warned on Thursday.

The city had reserved 286 km of lanes for vehicles serving the Olympics and Paralympics from July 20 to September 20. This is to ensure the athletes, judges, other Olympic officials and VIPs arrive at venues on time, said Liu Bin, a BTMB official in charge of Olympic traffic affairs.

The lanes were only open to Games vehicles. Those without Olympic permits were banned from using the lanes, Liu said.

Drivers breaching the lanes would be fined 200 yuan (29.1 US dollars) and serious violators who continue to do so after repeated police warning would be fined up to 1,800 yuan and detained according to China's Law on Road Traffic Safety, Liu said.

Jiang Jin, a BTMB press officer, said "All the Olympic vehicles will have explicit signs or permits which are easy for policemen to identify."

"The electronic monitors will also be used to detect suspected violators," she added.

But Jiang expressed her optimism and said she believed most Beijing residents would strictly abide by the traffic regulation for the sake of the Games.

Workers had started marking the lanes on major roads, including Chang'an Avenue, which passes Tian'anmen Square in downtown Beijing, and the Second, Fourth and Fifth Ring Roads.

Six-square-meter white signs with five interlocked rings are painted on the ground every one km and dotted lines in alternate yellow and white are also painted along the Olympic lanes.

Beijing, which hosts the Olympics from August 8 to 24 and the Paralympics from September 6 to 17, has about 3.29 million vehicles on its roads, municipal statistics show.

The city will impose an even-odd system based on license plate numbers to keep vehicles off the roads on alternate days from July 20 to September 20. This is to ease congestion and improve air quality for the Games.

Exceptions to the restrictions include police and other emergency vehicles, taxis, buses and embassy cars.

(Xinhua News Agency July 18, 2008)

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