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Building bikeways - Beijing’s plan to reduce traffic

(People's Daily)    08:30, May 24, 2018

Beijing's planned bikeway map. (Photo: Xinhuanews)

Beijing - Shortly after China said it would provide financial relief to car buyers with a substantial tariff cut, Beijing announced it will construct a cycling road for bicycle enthusiasts who wish to ride between their homes and workplaces and avoid being crammed into peak-hour subways and buses.

Construction on the bicycle-only road will start by September and finish in June next year, according to Beijing’s Municipal Commission of Transportation.

The new cycling road will span 6.5 kilometers and will provide cyclists with a route through heavily populated areas in northwest Beijing. The road will also have no crossings or traffic lights, which will be a boon for fast riding and efficiency.

China's first and longest elevated bikeway, Xiamen. (File Photo)

The bikeway is designed to handle more than 1,000 bikes per hour in each of its lanes. Similar to sparing room for motor vehicles during peak hours, the new road will also have reversible and overtaking lanes to mitigate congestion.

The cycling road will use several methods to prevent invasive automobiles from using the road, including monitors to record misconduct.

China's first and longest elevated bikeway, Xiamen. (File Photo)

The bikeway will span Huilongguan, which houses both Beijing’s largest residential blocks and high-tech clusters. The area is currently plagued by major traffic congestion. When completed, experts say the cycling road could cut commute times by half at least.

Beijing authorities have been planning the new road for the last year and took inspiration from Xiamen, a coastal city in southeast China that built the world’s longest elevated bikeway in 2017. It also connected the bike path with a light-rail system and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), forming a smooth and efficient traffic network. Xiamen’s bikeway also provides cyclists with a splendid backdrop with its urban picturesque scenery.

The elevated bikeway in Copenhagen, Denmark. (File Photo)

Some of China’s Western peers boast more complex bicycle pathways, such as Denmark, which is often referred to as a bicycle-nation. Denmark’s national bikeways stretch as long as 12,000 kilometers. Authorities in Copenhagen invented the “green wave,” which is a system that allows cyclists whose speed persists at around 20 kilometers per hour to hit all green lights. Cyclists also have prioritized road rights.

Germany also has an impressive system of bikeways. In its downtown areas, cycling lanes are often mixed with pedestrian ways and motor lanes, where speed limits are low. In areas that have higher speed limits, bikeways are separated from the main road with strips of grass or blocking lines. In rural areas, roads are almost exclusively designed for cyclists. 

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(Web editor: Xu JiaWei, Bianji)

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