Beijing is the bicycle capital of the world.
The bike remains a major mode of transport for most Beijing residents.
Following recent growth that revealed that close to 20,000 new cars per week were taking to the local authorities moves to act by placing a cap on new plate number approvals. Now the limit is 20,000 new plates per month.
That said, Beijing still has more bicycles in daily use than any other city in the world.
In an attempt to reverse the trend towards car use, city planners want to boost the number of cyclists by 25% over five years.
According to a report in The Guardian, twenty years ago, four out of five residents in the Chinese capital pedalled to work through one of the world’s best systems of bicycle lanes. But the modern passion for cars has made two-wheeled transport unfashionable so that now the figure is closer to just one fifth.
One of the key reasons behind the City of Beijing hosting the Tour of Beijing is to encourage more residents to ride rather than drive.
According to the Xinhua news agency, the government hope s to improve the infrastructure for cyclists, including restored bicycle lanes and new rental programmes providing 50,000 bikes for hire by 2015. The authorities plan more bike parks near bus and subway stations in the expectation that half the city’s residents will travel to work by public transport in five years.
In addition the city has launched the Beijing 3510 project, to encourage citizens to change their daily commuting habits.
The Beijing 3510 project means if the journey is under 3km then it’s by foot: less than 5km then go by bike; and less than 10km then public transport is the preferred method of transportation.
These measures are expected to relieve the increasing traffic pressures, promote a healthier lifestyle and greener attitude.