Denmark beware! China wants its title back at the best country in the world for cycling – The Post

Denmark beware! China wants its title back at the best country in the world for cycling

Following a flirtation with the car, the Asian country is setting new standards in the area of bicycle sharing

The numbers are rapidly growing in China (photo: Peirz at wts wikivoyage)
August 4th, 2017 7:22 pm| by Dave Smith
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It would appear that Denmark has only been looking after its title as the most bicycle-friendly country in the world for safe keeping.

Up until the 1980s, there were an estimated 1 million bicycles in China – and now with the Asian country’s focus ever switching to environmental concerns, it wants its title back!

Since 2015, China has been making a concerted effort to address increasing congestion and air pollution, and the comeback of the bicycle has been at the forefront of its efforts.

Embracing sharing
This time the bicycle looks different though. Fashion-conscious Chinese cyclists won’t just ride any bike: it needs to be high-tech and accessory friendly.

Given the cost of such bikes, a dozen or so sharing services are ruling the roost in 50 of the country’s cities, offering a bike that customers open with a smartphone app and then drop off whenever they have finished using it.

Bike sharing is now the third most popular means of travel in China after the car and public transport.

A major impression
Some 20 million shares are expected this year according to the 2017 White Paper on Bike Sharing and City Development – a ten-fold increase on 2016, helping to increase the percentage of people using bicycles from 4.8 to 11.6 percent and reducing car travel by 3.2 percent.

Overall, an estimated 540,000 fewer tonnes of carbon emissions are being released every year, and space is being freed up due to the reduced need for parking spaces.

And the demand for Chinese expertise in the area of bike sharing has also grown, with Singapore, UK and Italy among those queuing up, with Australia, USA, Japan and Malaysia not far behind.