Updated: 2013-08-27 06:57
Rights of cyclists and pedestrians
Comment on "Beijing spends big on sidewalk, bicycle-lane work" (China Daily, Aug 19)
Beijing's roads are almost entirely occupied by vehicles. It's really dangerous to ride a bike on many roads in Beijing: Cars will go by fast, the drivers blasting their horns. It's also difficult for pedestrians to walk on Beijing's sidewalks, as many of them have become parking lots. The roads should not be fully occupied by vehicles because cyclists and pedestrians deserve the same rights as vehicle drivers on the roads. And to some extent, the rights of cyclists and pedestrians should be given priority, because they are not only disadvantaged groups on the road compared with vehicle drivers, but also use a more healthy, environmentally friendly transportation mode that should be promoted.
It is good news that the Beijing government will invest a huge amount of money in improving the capital's sidewalks and bicycle lanes. It will help people to ride bicycles and walk more safely in Beijing. But I'm afraid better bicycle lanes and sidewalks are not enough to change the public's transportation habits. Beijing's environment, especially its air quality, is too bad to encourage people to walk or cycle. Even if there are better sidewalks and bicycle lanes, many people will still be unwilling to take the risk of breathing in polluted air by walking or riding a bicycle in the open air. Thus if the authorities really want to encourage environmental and healthy transportation modes like walking and riding bicycles, they should also make great efforts to clean up the air.
Kang Tianyu, via e-mail
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(China Daily 08/27/2013 page9)