中国法律博客
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Beijing Needs More Bikes? I Think Elvis Already Left the Building Some Time Ago
媒体来源: 中国法律博客

bjtrafficOr perhaps you'd prefer "the genie is already out of the bottle" or "the horse is already out of the barn." Take your pick.

We need more bicycles here? Hmm, let me think. I was out today walking and was only almost hit by four cars and three bicycles.

The cars were scarier, so for me, fewer cars would be best, but OK, as a fallback measure, more bicycles would be nice, assuming that: 1) this leads to a reduction in the use of motor vehicles, and 2) bikes would actually be forced into dedicated lanes instead of sidewalks (i.e. so they won't hit me).

By the way, I hope this doesn't mean that the roads and sidewalks are (even more) choked with the nifty new "e-bikes" (electric bikes). I was almost hit by several of those today as well, and I know that they're ultimately fueled by coal — jury is still out on those suckers.

Here's the key stat:

The proportion of Beijing residents riding bicycles was only 19.7 percent in the first four months in 2009, compared with more than 80 percent in the 1980s.

That's really a staggering figure. I understand that the gap there has much more to do with the economic growth we've seen here since the 80s. Even so, realize that all of those folks that are no longer using bicycles are using either fossil fuel-based public transport (if we're lucky) or personal automobiles. Further note that Beijing's population has soared since the 80s, with millions of additional residents.

Amazing. And now, finally, now that the auto industry and their needs have come first for years, the municipal government in Beijing wants to rein them in the age of the car:

Beijing authorities aim to increase the proportion of cyclists on road from the current 19.7 percent to 23 percent by 2015 for a clearer sky and less traffic jams in the capital city.

The government will revise and eliminate regulations that discourage bicycle usage, and install more restrictions against car drivers, said Liu Xiaoming, director of the Municipal Communications Commission.

Great stuff, I'm all for it. Much more difficult to do now, though, once all those cars are already out on the road and so many roads have been built for auto use that totally ignore the needs of cyclists and pedestrians.

If they're serious, maybe we can return to a pedestrian and cyclist friendly city — in another decade.

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© Stan for China Hearsay, 2010. |
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