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wheels of progress

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  • Telfer
    I don t know if this is an agency report others might have seen. It is in today s South China Morning Post; Quote: The Kingdom of the Bicycle is in
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1, 2001
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      I don't know if this is an agency report others might have seen. It is in
      today's South China Morning Post;

      Quote: The "Kingdom of the Bicycle" is in danger of losing its title.
      Only a decade ago, the bicycle could still be regarded as the main occupant
      of the wide boulevards in Beijing and other cities.
      But times are changing and its demise as a major mode of transport, replaced
      by the pollution-belching motor vehicle, provides visual confirmation that
      China is emerging as an economic power." Unquote.
      Note the apparent irony-free linking of vehicle pollution with economic
      progress, nay POWER. Presumably China will have arrived as a world power
      when it manages to equal US levels of toxicity.
      Anyway it continues to say the percentage of regular bike users has dropped
      from 61% in 1997 to 43% this year. Figures for the actual increased rate of
      car ownership aren't given so could there be some grounds for optimism in
      the revelation that bus use has increased from 8.75%to 22.25% in the same
      Quote: "Private car ownership which was just a dream for many 10 years ago,
      is another reason behind the reduction in bike numbers. There are now 48
      private cars for every 10,000 city residents". Unquote.
      Doesn't sound like a lot but the car growth will be exponential and how
      many billion souls are we talking about here?

      Quote; "Bejings streets, too, no longer seem as clogged (sic) with bicycles
      as they were only two or three years ago. This is partly due to the fact
      that cycling is no longer a pleasure but an unpleasant chore in the heavy
      pollution" Unquote.

      Sounds familiar. And depressing. Sorry to spoil anyone's Sunday

      Bill Telfer
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