Safer cycling in China

The renaissance of bike-riding is a welcome development, so let’s improve conditions for the users.

Orange, yellow, blue, green, rainbow… bike lanes in Chinese cities are quite colourful these days.

Thanks to the new bike-sharing business, one of the greenest and healthiest ways to travel—cycling—is experiencing a surprising renaissance in China. The new bike-sharing companies, such as Mobike and ofo, have placed more than 16 million shared bikes in at least 150 cities. They are changing the way people commute.

While cycling is becoming more fashionable than at any time in the recent past, there are more fundamental improvements in infrastructure that cities should make to create a safe, convenient and enjoyable cycling experience.

Some policymakers have begun to think bike sharing is a nuisance. However, the issues can be mitigated by careful planning. Dedicated bike parking should be carefully designed to be meet the needs of bicycle users. Moreover, other facilities can help create a safe and enjoyable cycling environment – bicycle traffic lights, street lighting, bike lane pavement and shade, for example.

It is exciting to see that cycling is making a comeback in China. However, the growing demand has put a strain on the system. Decision-makers should respond to the increasing demand by providing new cycling facilities and upgrade the existing infrastructure to provide safe, convenient and enjoyable facilities for the cyclists.

However, it is still common to see policies that prioritise motor vehicles over bicycles. The decision-makers should put people at the heart of the process and utilise this opportunity improve the livability of cities.

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