Planet Ark News

The Sky's the Limit for the Humble Push Bike

Date: 16-Feb-17
Author: Claire Bell

Bike Sharing on the Xiamen Skyway © Claire Bell

Bike Sharing on the Xiamen Skyway

China’s modern cyclists are being encouraged to get on their bikes with projects like the city of Xiamen’s cycling skyway. The skyway, which sits five metres above the ground, is a first for China and at 7.6km is the longest in the world. The skyway aims to decrease traffic congestion and encourage active transport as well as other initiatives such as bike sharing apps.

For many the image of cycling in China is associated with end of the 1940s, when serious domestic production of bicycles started and was the mode of transport for the masses. Chinese cities are now better known their technological advances, pollution and traffic jams but even so they still host the world’s largest cycling population.

“430 million owners of cycles in China represent the biggest increase of individual mobility of the human history… the bicycle remains the biggest means of individual mobility for hundreds of millions Chinese.” Publication of the Earth Policy Institute, Extract of a book.

Other places with notable bike paths are Copenhagen with a 13 feet wide skyway which forms part of its 220 miles of bicycle paths and a Polish town that boasts a solar powered bike path that glows in the dark. Europe has a well-earned reputation for being bike friendly and projects such as the one in Xiamen may encourage other cities around the world follow in their cycle path!

There was even a proposal last year for an elevated ‘bicycle highway’ for Melbourne.

Local governments around the world are putting funds towards cycling infrastructure as a way to reduce cars on the road and provide safe and healthy transport options for their urban residents.

Positive Action

  • Get on your bike and explore the cycle paths in your city if you’re feeling a little rusty or lacking in confidence and need a refresher many councils offer free courses to residents to get them going.

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