The decline of bicycle lanes is a violation of the rights and interests of the majority of road users, says a signed article in China Youth Daily. An excerpt follows:
A member of the municipal people's political consultative conference of Harbin raised a proposal during a recent session on establishing special bicycle lanes along major roads in the city. He said that the number of bicycle lanes has been declining, so the safety of riders is compromised.
The number of motor vehicles has increased greatly in cities in recent years, while bicycle lanes are gradually disappearing. Some experts have even said that the cancellation of bicycle lanes can relieve traffic pressure.
It shows a lack of human concern in urban planning and management when bicycle lanes are encroached upon. The cancellation of bicycle lanes is a violation of the rights of bicycle riders, the majority of the public.
China is a kingdom of bicycles. Even though the number of car-owners is on the rise, many people, especially low-income earners, still depend on bicycles as their major means of transportation.
In many Western countries, bicycle lanes are re-emerging and cycling is being promoted as an environmentally friendly means of transportation.
In places like Beijing, bicycles are making a comeback, as the city suffers increasingly from congestion. A recent report by the Beijing Municipal Committee of Urban Planning points out that cycling is still an important means of urban transport. And as an environment-friendly means of transportation, it deserves space to develop.
Vice-Minister of Construction Qiu Boxing said in an article that we should promote the concept of a "walkable city" and restore bicycle lanes. Practice shows that setting up bicycle parks and bus stops can facilitate a more convenient transport system that reduces urban noise, pollution and congestion.
We need space for bicycles along broad urban roads. May more cities give the green light to bicycle lanes.
(China Daily March 1, 2006)