12 Apr '12, 3pm

Everyone in Beijing is ditching bikes, except for the foreigners

Everyone in Beijing is ditching bikes, except for the foreigners

In 1986, 60 percent of the citizens of Beijing rode bikes; now 17 percent do. In an age in which every industrialized nation with even the slightest desire to get through the 21st century with its oil-dependent economy intact is ramping up efforts to make its cities more bike friendly , China is undergoing a grand reversal, a de-bikification on a scale only China could manage. The reasons have little to do with energy and everything to do with culture, reports Debra Bruno in The Atlantic Cities . To many Chinese, bikes are now for losers. … “There is a quote: ‘I would rather cry in a BMW than smile on a bike,’” says Jinhua Zhao, an urban planning professor at the University of British Columbia who’s conducting a study of cycling in Beijing. Personally, I’d rather stay healthy and get to work on time, but whatevs, not like that has convinced 99 out of 100 Americans, either....

Full article: http://grist.org/list/everyone-in-beijing-is-ditching-bik...

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