The Growing Danger For Chinese Pedestrians

<p>Walking and biking in becoming increasingly dangerous in many Chinese cities. This article looks at what some cities are doing to discourage these traditional forms of transport, and what they can do to make the streets safer.</p>

January 17, 2008, 12:00 PM PST

By Nate Berg


"In an attempt to curb the twin evils, greenhouse gas emissions and obesity, Americans are encouraged to walk and bike instead of hopping into a car."

"Ironically, just the opposite is occurring in China. There, where residents make about 50 percent of daily trips on foot or bicycle, they are increasingly discouraged from using those two traditional transportation modes."

"In the case of one city, Jinan, transportation officials are actively seeking to move bicyclists onto buses. In another city, Fushun, metal barriers constructed along sidewalks to protect pedestrians have the unanticipated effect of creating inconvenience and a rash of jaywalking."

"Further complicating pedestrians' safety was a decision by transportation officials to move bicycles, motorbikes, and the newest fad-electric bikes-from roadways to a center lane on sidewalks. Now pedestrians must dodge swarms of bikers as they make their way to bus stops and intersections at the edge of the sidewalks."

"'These kinds of conflicts cause a lot of tension between the bicyclists and the pedestrians, and this is why, I think, there are calls to reduce the number of bicycles because they're causing the trouble,' explained Thomas, who has spent more than half a dozen years in China studying transportation and energy problems."

Tuesday, January 1, 2008 in UC Berkeley Traffic Safety Center Newsletter

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