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Chinese Bicycles

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51318.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:45 pm Reply with quote

Q: How many bicycles are there in Shanghai?
F: 9 million
A: Bicycles have been banned from all major roads in Shanghai since 2004

Succumbing at last to the worldwide love affair with the car, China - of all places - is officially turning up its nose at the humble bicycle. Its biggest city, Shanghai, plans to ban bikes from all major roads next year to ease congestion, state-run newspapers said on Tuesday.

It's not just the weather Shanghai cyclists now have to contend with
Police will also raise fines tenfold for such cycling infractions as running red lights, Shanghai Daily reported.

Once hailed as the perfect form of proletarian transport, the bicycle used to reign supreme in China as undisputed king of the road.

In fact it was the only way most people had of getting to work.

Each morning, swarms of blue-coated cyclists would pour down special cycle lanes or often fill entire roads, making it hard for the occasional goods lorry or communist party limousine to pass.

51319.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:47 pm Reply with quote

Oh crikey, hold the presses:

Shanghai officials appear to be back-pedalling on what was being viewed as an "anti-bicycle" campaign in the city.
Officials announced at the weekend plans to build a network of cycle paths in the centre of the city, according to the Shanghai Daily newspaper.

The plan was in marked contrast to a series of recent measures which appeared to penalise cyclists.

For example, a tenfold increase in traffic fines for cyclists is due to take effect in May, and last month, a ban on using bicycles on roads in the city centre was implemented.

The ban was introduced as an anti-congestion measure, but many residents see the rapidly growing number of private cars as the real reason for crowded roads.

The new plans do not mean an end to the ban and few details of the cycle path network were given.

But an official told the Shanghai Daily that the cycle paths would be integrated into urban renewal projects in the run-up to the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.

The city has a population of around 20m and there are an estimated 9m bicycles - many people still view them as essential for getting around.

51321.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:55 pm Reply with quote

Meanwhile, in Beijing:

New York Times, 3 November 1998 and China Daily, 21 October 1998
Starting October 21, bicycles were banned on a 300-meter-long stretch of notoriously gridlocked Xisidong street from 7 am to 8 pm. More than 6,000 bicycles per hour used to travel the road, which is now reserved for motor vehicle and pedestrian traffic only. Officials from the Beijing Municipal Public Security Traffic Management Bureau claim that the bike ban will improve throughput on the street. Despite the rapid growth in motorized vehicles--there are now 1.3 million in the capital--bicycling still plays an enormously important role in Beijing's transportation system.

51323.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 3:56 pm Reply with quote

Electric bikes, now that's another story. Or, rather, the same one:
bans on electric bikes are already in place in Zhuhai, Guangzhou, Wenzhou and Fuzhou. A Beijing ban could go into effect as early as January. Those in favor of such bans say electric bikes cause traffic congestion, accidents and — get this — pollution (from discarded lead batteries). Those opposed to the bans said in response: “Are you all out of your fucking minds?” Electric bikes use very little energy, are quiet, much smaller than cars and cause no pollution if cities provide users means to recycle batteries properly.

Nowhere is the fight for the roads more fierce than in Shanghai, which boasts 8 million bicycles, 300,000 electric bicycles, 900,000 motorcycles, 900,000 cars and 10 million pedestrians on the move every day. One reason why the number of bicycles has risen was the abolition of a cheap monthly bus ticket in 1994. The congestion is so serious that the average speed of buses has fallen from 19km/h in 1999 to 10km/h now.

51324.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:02 pm Reply with quote

The bicycle first became popular in China at the end of the 19th century and in the early part of the 20th century. Until the end of Second World War foreigners in China also mainly used the bicycle, as first the rickshaw, then the pedicab dominated China’s roadways. It was not until the 1950s, with the introduction of what was to become China’s most famous bicycle, the Flying Pigeon, that the bike really took off. Production rose from 14,000 in 1949 to 298,000 in 1954, just over 800,000 in 1957 and over 8.5 million by 1979.

Now, just over 20 years since Deng Xiaoping set China on the path to modernization, the bicycle is under threat. Several cities, including Shanghai and Beijing, have banned them from their main roads and, with two new subway lines planned for Beijing in preparation for the 2008 Olympics Games, the capital is clearly moving away from two-wheel transport. The bicycle is nonetheless first choice of transport for many of Beijing’s students, elderly, and blue collar workers.
This is an Australian guy who works for China Radio International

51325.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:06 pm Reply with quote

Shanghai is extending a ban of bicyclists on major metropolitan streets, and Beijing city officials want some of the city's eight million cyclists to leave their bikes at home and take buses and subways.

Western Courier, 1/12/04

51328.  Tue Feb 14, 2006 4:10 pm Reply with quote

Shanghai plans to ban bikes in the city center by 2010, and many major streets are already closed to cyclists during rush hour. Beijing, with 11 million bicycles, more than any other city in the world, is experimenting with a bike ban on a jammed street near the Forbidden City, so the cars can get through.

"Cars Taking Over In Race to Modernity"
Washington Post
12 March 2001

Stop me if I'm banging on.

51393.  Wed Feb 15, 2006 7:24 am Reply with quote

This from the outer boards, quoted from eBeijing, a government run website which is aimed at foreign governments and organisations.

There are nearly 1.7 million motor vehicles and 10 million bicycles on the streets of Beijing


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