Shanghai back-pedals on bike ban threat

Police chiefs in the bicycle-dense Chinese city had been planning to lever bikes off the streets in order to fit in more cars but the Shanghai city government has now said it has no plans to limit cycling and is, in fact, planning to build cycle routes. But is this a ploy to ghettoise cyclists in the run-up to the World Expo, due to take place in Shanghai in 2010?
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According to the Shanghai Daily News, Wu Jiang, deputy director of Shanghai Urban Planning Administrative Bureau said "The bicycle is still a premier transport tool in the city."

He said this at a Sino-British symposium on riverside planning.

Shanghai has a bicycle population of 9 million and rising, but increasing prosperity in China is leading to an ever growing appetite for privately-owned motorcars. If Western cities are designed around the automobile, then so should Chinese cities, goes some official thinking.

In December last year, Shanghai police chiefs mooted plans for banning cyclists in downtown areas and on major arterial roads. Law-breaking cyclists were to also face tougher fines. To date there has bee no ban and Shanghai's cyclusts continue to flout traffic laws with impunity.

However, plans to create "cycle roads" - see the Shanghai Daily News link below - could be seen not as a positive move but one that would see cyclists forced away from the road network.

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