Shanghai Bans Bicycles from Major Streets

Shanghai, China, whose streets once teemed with peddling people, will ban bicycles from most major thoroughfares beginning next year. It’s a dramatic (and, many say, depressing) shift for a city that was home to some of the nation’s earliest bicycle factories. Now, Shanghai has become a center of China’s burgeoning auto industry. Though bicycles are still the main form of transportation for the country’s masses, members of China’s burgeoning affluent class are buying cars in ever-growing numbers and finding that bikes are getting in their way. “Bicycles put great pressure on the city’s troubled traffic situation,” said Shanghai police official Chen Yuangao. Cycling advocates counter that cars, buses, and taxis are the real traffic scourge and that they contribute to the notoriously bad air quality in China’s major cities. Beijing and other metropolitan areas are also shunting bikes aside, encouraging autos to dominate the roads.