Beijing by Bike

Bikes as transportation in a city of millions. We rode from the hotel to the Forbidden City and just got into the “flow” of bike traffic and followed it through perilous intersections, traffic circles, and more. I was the only one in all of China wearing a helmet. The safety zone between bikes and other vehicles of all types doesn’t exist, everyone is close to everyone and everything else and it’s best to just roll with it, finding your way.

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3 Comments

I wonder sometimes if all of our work on bike lanes is a waste of time.  I often feel more comfortable taking a lane than riding in a special one.

The traffic I ride in is nothing like anything in East Asia, but San Francisco Bay Area traffic is still pretty heavy and I’m often riding my bike through some pretty tight spots. I watched the three-foot passing laws that have become popular over the past couple of years and wonder what kind of backlash there might be from motorists in the kinds of areas I ride in.

The bike lanes while designated for bikes also have pedestrians, parked cards, lorries, cars, and everything else. As I wrote above and will write more, there’s a flow to traffic in Beijing, everything moves around everything else so it’s difficult to compare. At one point, there’s a lorrie in your lane, then a motorcycle, and taxi, then a left and a crowd, to the right a wall of traffic, then a beep and a car right beside you. I’m sure those scientists that study traffic patterns and flow dynamics come here just to watch.

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