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China: Around The Nation

Cyclists in southwest China balk at city’s new 70cm wide bike lane

Oddly enough, no-one is using it, with riders saying they’d prefer the risks of regular traffic

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 4:44pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 04 June, 2017, 9:50pm

Cyclists the world over are prone to complain that their needs take second place to car drivers, but in the southwest Chinese city of Kunming they might just have a point.

Authorities in one part of the city, the capital of Yunnan province, have provided a measly 70cm wide lane – barely wide enough to walk in – for non-motorised vehicles, provoking wide discussion online as China witnesses a surging number of private cars.

The lane, which runs on one side of the six-metre wide Yunshanzhi Road in Kunming is simply ignored by bicycles and electric bicycles as it’s too narrow, the Yunnan.cn news portal reported.

The road also has a 2m-wide strip on the other side designated for car parking spaces.

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The website found that no one bothered to use the bicycle lane during 30 minutes of observation beside the road. Many bicycle users said it was too narrow and unsafe, and said they’d rather chance their luck in the regular vehicle lane.

Staff from the community committee, the grass-roots government body that oversees affairs of residential communities in mainland cities, said they were considering redesigning the road for one-way traffic and promised to widen the bicycle lane.

A bicycle lane should be at least 3.5 metres wide according to road regulations in most mainland cities, but in many cities they are far narrower than that.