E-Yikes! Electric Bikes Terrorize the Streets of China
"Those electric bikes just don't listen! The problem is they go too fast. They can't stop like bikes. I saw an accident just over there the other day where someone on an e-bike rushed through the intersection and plowed over someone on a regular bike," Mr. Zhao said as he tried to keep China's newest road hazard in check.... Officials were caught off guard when that environmentally appealing solution turned out to be deadly on the streets. In 2007, there were 2,469 deaths from electric-bicycle accidents nationwide, up from just 34 in 2001, according to government statistics. That's roughly 3% of China's annual 90,000 traffic accident deaths.... Pedestrians complain that e-bike riders pay little heed to the rules of the road.
The article has some info on the history of China's electric bicycle industry which make it sound like it happened by accident.
FWIW - in my opinion traffic safety is the responsibility of the operator of the vehicle. It doesn't matter whether the "bicycle" is powered or not.. It's not gonna be going faster than the scooters and motorcycles, right? Hence it's up to the e-bicycle rider to fit themselves into the flow of traffic.