Bicycles Disappearing From Asia

Researchers in Asia are warning that unless governments start to make their urban planning policies more bicycle-friendly, bikes could virtually disappear from the urban environment within a decade.

"It is likely bicycles will have disappeared from China's and India's streets within the next decade, unless governments of the world's two most populous countries make a U-turn in their transportation policies."

"A joint study by the Netherlands-based Interface for Cycling Expertise (I-CE) and Indian-based Transport Research and Injury Prevention Program (TRIPP) was conducted in China, India, Taiwan, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh to measure each government's attitude to cyclists."

"'Today, China and India still have a lot of bikes but we are not sure if they will exist in the next five or 10 years as the governments' policies are not bicycle-friendly,' I-CE resident representative in India, Anvita Arora, said during the Better Air Quality workshop here Tuesday."

"In India alone, the study -- covering 19 of the country's medium and large cities -- showed a sharp decline in bicycle journeys over the past two decades."

"'The major shortcoming of almost all development proposals in Indian cities is that the bicycle tracks have not been planned as an integral part of the road networks.'"

Full Story: Bicycles could disappear from Asia, experts warn

Comments

Comments

"tracking" bias

Basically, a study from the Netherlands (a country that has been trying harder and harder to encourage driving while simultaneously segregating its cyclists more and more--and watching them decrease in number) suggests that unless India and China implement cycle tracks (like they have in the Netherlands), they will not have bicyclists within a decade. No cultural bias here ;^/

If a country HAS a huge cycling population then why would it lose that population? India and China have the first and second worst accident rates in the world (the largest raw number of motor vehicle-related fatalities of any other country) despite having, combined, less than 20% of the vehicles owned and operated in the United States. So, a system that is poorly designed and obviously catastrophically dangerous is being encouraged while a system that was relatively safe and useful is suffering the consequences. This has nothing to do with cycle tracks and everything to do with bad roads, bad laws, bad enforcement, and bad drivers.

The article restates a highly erroneous claim: "Researchers in Asia are warning that unless governments start to make their urban planning policies more bicycle-friendly, bikes could virtually disappear from the urban environment within a decade."

"More friendly" in general. Smarter planning IS in order. Maybe increasing car use requires building better roads. This bias towards cycle tracks and segregating cyclists will just reduce the number of cyclists down to those willing to put up with the hassle. It will not improve safety for all road users unless the system is made more car-friendly.

Netherlands Encourages Driving????

"the Netherlands (a country that has been trying harder and harder to encourage driving while simultaneously segregating its cyclists more and more)"

What evidence do you have that the Netherlands has been trying to encourage driving? The conventional wisdom is that it is one of the countries that has done most to encourage bicycling. Of course, the conventional wisdom may be wrong, and I would be interested to see some evidence.

There is a long-standing dispute among bicycle advocates among those who support bikes and cars sharing the road, and those who support separate bike paths, lanes, etc. I think that dispute may be behind your post and behind your very strange statement:

"This bias towards cycle tracks and segregating cyclists will just reduce the number of cyclists down to those willing to put up with the hassle. It will not improve safety for all road users unless the system is made more car-friendly."

Is there any evidence that separate cycle paths are more of a hassle and reduce the number of bicyclists? I don't feel like a segregated, second-class citizen when I ride on a bike path. I feel safer and less tense.

Is there any evidence that making the system more car-friendly improves safety for all road users? Conventional ideas about making the system more car-friendly (designing streets for increased speed, reducing the number of cross-walks, removing on-street parking, adding free-right-turn lanes, building freeways with interchanges feeding into city streets) clearly reduce the safety of other road users.

Charles Siegel

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