Friday, September 22, 2006

Vehicles and bicycles competing for roads in Beijing

Calling Back Bicycles

Environmental protection organizations in China issued a letter on Friday, calling on the public to ride bicycles, instead of driving cars, to get around, like they used to, because bicycle riding is “more fun, healthier, faster and more environmental friendly.”

For decades, riding bicycle used to be the main transportation for people across China. But as more and more people start to drive their own cars, not as many people ride bicycles any more. Meanwhile, fast growing vehicles are deteriorating urban transportation in almost all major Chinese cities, and conflicts between vehicles and bicycles on the road are escalating as vehicles start to run on bicycles lanes when their own are overcrowded.

Liang Congjie, delegate of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, China’s top policy consultative body, told the Beijing News that it no longer feels safe to ride bicycle on Beijing’s roads. Liang, 74, who is also a famous architect and environmentalist, stopped riding bicycle in Beijing only recently, after falling from his bicycle when attempting to avoid a suddenly-coming vehicle. “If vehicles in Beijing don’t yield to bicycles, it will be very dangerous to ride bicycles in Beijing.”

Why? Mr. Liang cited several problems, including: some newly built roads do not have bicycles lanes; existing bicycle lanes are occupied by fast growing vehicles or taken as parking spaces. “These circumstances undermined bicyclists’ right of the road, and damaged the transportation resources of bicycles,” said Mr. Liang.

On Thursday, Qiu Baoxing, deputy chief of China’s state administration of construction, told a city planning forum in Guangzhou that China should adopt a compact model for city development, not the wide-spread model of the United States, Southern Metropolis Daily reported.

According to state planning, total highway miles in China will exceed that of the US by 2035, making China the No.1 country in the world in terms of highway area and energy consumption for transportation. “This is something very formidable, ” Mr. Qiu said.

Bad Behavior of Chinese Tourists Censured

A list of bad behaviors of Chinese tourists in overseas sites was published Friday on the website of China National Tourism Administration. The denounced behaviors include littering, spitting, not flushing after using toilet, ignoring No Smoking signs, cutting in front of others while waiting in line, talking loudly in restaurants, hotels or on plane, sporting and joking at religious sites, speaking bad words freely, behaving rude, bargaining at stores that don’t bargain, and taking things not for guests to keep from hotels and restaurants.

Along with the increase in Chinese people’s income are the number of Chinese tourists traveling overseas in Japan, Korea, Europe and other countries. While demonstrating their ability to purchase merchandises, Chinese tourists also show their bad manners in many ways. The tourism administration asked the public to submit what they think as bad behaviors of Chinese tourists and published the list as a way of education. The administration also issued suggestions for improvements.

----by Josie Liu

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