Monday, April 05, 2010

Beijingers get back on their bikes

It seems that not only are 'bikes back' on the Beijing streets but that electric bikes are the new hot thing... especially with those conjested streets:

Office worker David Dai is one of a growing army of Beijing residents returning to two-wheeled transport. But the 28-year-old does not rely on his own pedal power - like hundreds of thousands of others, he has bought an electric bike. These battery-powered, and virtually silent, machines have become increasingly common on the streets of the Chinese capital. With roads often clogged with cars - there are now four million vehicles in Beijing - they offer a speedy way to get around. But not everyone seems to like them: government officials are unsure about how to deal with this explosion of electric bicycles.

Congested streets

China used to be known as the "kingdom of bicycles". In the 1980s, four out of five commuters pedalled to work on them in Beijing. But as the capital's residents became richer following economic development, they ditched their bikes for four-wheeled transport.Recent statistics suggest that only one in five city residents now use an ordinary bicycle to travel around.

In a matter of just a few years Beijing has gone from a city with few private cars to one where traffic jams are commonplace. But many Beijing residents are now buying electric bicycles to avoid wasting time on congested streets. "It takes only 10 minutes to ride my electric bike from home to work," said Mr Dai.

 Read more at - 'Beijingers get back on their bikes'


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