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September 23, 2011

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The spin on bikes in city: not good

LOCALS are complaining that biking in downtown Shanghai is turning more difficult, despite government promises to promote it.

The disconnected and decreasing number of bike lanes, which have been replaced by more car lanes, are the main culprit. Residents go out on bikes only to find obstructions.

Many of the city's main thoroughfares, including Nanjing Road, Huaihai Road, Yan'an Road W. and Zhongshan Road E, don't contain bike lanes.

"We have to detour or walk the bikes from time to time," said a biker, Zhang Linyuan. "It is a waste of time."

Moreover, many roads don't contain barriers to isolate the bike lanes from the motor lanes, posing serious safety threats to bikers because motor vehicles routinely go into the bike lanes.

Meanwhile, elevated passageways with stairs but no slopes also cause great trouble for bikers.

A man surnamed Li who carries his grandson to school on his bike has to climb a skywalk more than 10 meters high on Gonghexin Road every day. He said he has to rest three to four times to walk the bike over the passageway.

The bike lanes that the city has introduced have achieved great effect with their conspicuous color, but some lanes have disappeared due to the high cost of construction and maintenance.

The 1.8-kilometer-long green bike lane between Fudan University and Tongji University, the longest in the city, has faded due to erosion and the difficulty of maintaining its color.

Because of the lack of bike lanes in the downtown area, bike-rental services have never taken off among commuters though the city started to promote the environmentally friendly transport as early as 2008.

The government has been offering subsidies to the service operators.

One service operator in Yangpu District plans to introduce mobile payment and UnionPay into the service to attract more customers.

"The convenient payment modes will attract more customers, especially tourists who don't want to bother to apply for a card," said Cheng Jun, general manger of the Shanghai Tiantianlong Information and Technologoy Co Ltd, the operator.

The district plans to double its bicycle parking sites around Wujiaochang area to six to boost the effort.


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