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.
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.