China

On Two Wheels

Bicycles are a common sight on China’s roadways. Although increased car ownership and ongoing expansion of public transportation precipitated a decline in bicycle commuting over the last two decades, the bike is making a comeback. Air pollution and standstill traffic in cities have prompted new bike-share programs in more than seventy-three cities. Electric bikes comprise about 20 percent of two-wheel traffic in urban areas.

Washington, D.C., is becoming a cyclist’s city. How does it compare to its Sister City, Beijing? In 2010, 3.1 percent of D.C.'s 604,453 residents were bike commuters, as compared to 16 percent of Beijing’s 19.6 million people.

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Photo by Josh Eli Cogan, Ralph Rinzler Folklife Archives and Collections, Smithsonian Institution

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