Bikes vs. cars in China


Despite China’s increasing infatuation with cars, it’s heartening to note that some Chinese city planners are not about to abandon the bicycle as a reliable means of tranportation. In fact, several cities have been making it easier to use bikes.
I wrote in a Feb. 8 post, “China’s ‘visionary’ bike-sharing plan,” about the world’s largest bike-sharing program in the Chinese city of Hangzhou.

A bike-rental station in Hangzhou

Started on May 1, 2008, the Hangzhou program offers 50,000 bicycles at more than 1,000 rental stations for a population of about 1.9 million in the urban core. The second-largest bike-sharing network is Velib in Paris, which provides about 20,000 bikes distributed among 1,450 stations for its population of about 2.1 million.
Now, the city of Xiamen, on China’s southeastern coast, plans to follow Hangzhou’s example and build its own bike-sharing system this year, the deputy director of the city’s Urban Planning Bureau, Wang Wei, announced at a news conference on Feb. 18.
The Urban Planning Bureau offered statistics showing that 40 percent of Xiamen residents get around by walking or biking. Thirty percent use public transport and 8.2 percent drive private cars.
The bike-rental system will focus on Xiamen’s urban core and new towns on the city’s outskirts. The bike-rental stations are to be placed at public transportation hubs so that bicycle commuters can connect to commercial centers, hospitals, schools and entertainment and sports venues.
Xiamen, which has a population of about 2.5 million, became one of China’s earliest Special Economic Zones in the 1980s. It is considered one of China’s most livable cities. A bike-sharing program is likely to enhance that reputation.
Take a slide-show tour of Xiamen.

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4 Comments

Filed under Environment, Travels, Urban cycling

4 responses to “Bikes vs. cars in China

  1. Great to see these projects getting up around the world. The Bixi project here in Montreal has been an awesome success.

  2. These projects around the world are a great idea but they still leave a little bit of a hole when it comes to tourists as they are harder and a little complicated to hire for them. China has the perfect ingredients to make these sort of schemes work. In Australia mandatory helmet laws will soon make these schemes fail.

  3. I have been using the Hangzhou bike system for nearly a year now. Really is a great idea. It’s not that hard for a tourist to learn, but they could make it easier. Once you locate the station that sells the membership card all you need is a passport and 300 Yuan. Save your receipt so you can get a refund when you leave Hangzhou. The bikes aren’t suited for tall people, I have issues with most of them being 6’3″.

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