In the fall of 1987 I moved to Beijing – yes, that’s right – you read it correctly. I had the good fortune to find my way to China in the early days of its opening to the rest of the world and in a time when Beijing was still heavily navigated by its citizens riding on bikes. Based on what I have read on various statistics web sites, Beijing peaked in bicycle ownership as % of residents moving around by bike in 1986 with that percentage being 63%!
Think of that — 63% of the city’s population using bikes for commute etc. I saw that in 1987 – acquiring a bike was a pinnacle of one’s achievement (when it comes to transportation). Admittedly, car ownership was out of reach for probably 60% of the overall 63% who owned bikes (statistic above), but nevertheless moving around the city then was much, much easier.
When I look at the statistics for road fatalities vs bike ridership, I cannot help but wander – what if China and most of the res of the world got back on bicycles – what will happen….I am thinking – good things will happen – i.e. less accidents, and much healthier population 🙂
You will find more statistics at Statista;
The important part to consider is that the bicycle rides will also allow to reduce the impact of fare increase for subway in Beijing. The ticket prices increased from 2RMB to 3RMB minimum and now the prices are dependent on distance traveled.
Of course you would think that the rise in public transport prices will give a boost to Bike Sharing in Beijing – but based on info I found on the web – there are only 22K bikes being deployed in the bike sharing programs in the city.
By the way, if you are visiting Beijing on a leisurely schedule and the weather during your visit is good, you should consider biking around the city. It will save you time and make you a lot more mobile – hence allow you to see more…