China: a return to the “kingdom of bicycles”?BMJ 2018; 360 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k94 (Published 15 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k94
- Guoqing Hu, vice dean1,
- Daoxin Yin, editor2
- 1Xiangya School of Public Health, Central South University, Changsha, China
- 2The BMJ
Cycling is currently undergoing a renaissance in China, thanks to the emergence of shared bicycle schemes. A convenient pick-up and drop-off policy and the fact that the bicycles are cheap to use ($0.15-0.30 (£0.11-0.22; €0.13-0.25) for an hour’s ride) are boosting uptake. The high technology shared bikes feature simple opening and locking mechanisms; convenient mobile payment; wireless communication with service providers; a global positioning system service; and automatic recording of date, time, and distance travelled.
According to the Sharing Economy Research Center of the State Information Center of China,1 a total of 16 million high tech shared bicycles were in service as of September 2017, and each was used an average of three times a day. Bicycle sharing programmes are expected to be expanded to medium and small sized cities in China from 2018 to 2023.2
Cycling used to be the predominant mode of transport in Beijing, accounting for 62.7% of total traffic in the 1980s. A sharp rise in car usage, thanks to the rapid development of China’s economy, …