Beijing officials planning city’s first bicycle-only expressway

Purpose-built elevated track would allow cyclists to travel directly and safely into the centre of the capital

PUBLISHED : Monday, 16 October, 2017, 6:21pm
UPDATED : Monday, 16 October, 2017, 6:21pm

Officials are planning to open Beijing’s first purpose-built bicycle-only expressway next year, local media reported.

The bike highway will be 9km long and will run between residential Huilongguang in the north of the capital and downtown Zhongguancun, Beijing city centre deputy director Gan Feng announced last week.

The designated bike expressway will be “five to seven metres wide”, Gan, told Beijing News and construction work will begin next year.

Although few specifics have been released, the route will be partly elevated and have two-way cycle lanes.

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Unlike existing cycle paths it will not be built alongside the roads and will be strictly segregated from traffic.

Beijing is not the first Chinese city to have a purpose-built bike highway: an elevated 7.6km-long cycling path in Xiamen was completed in February.

“We know there is already a bicycle highway in Xiamen, but it is built near a park so is more for leisure purposes,” said Gan.

He added that the main purpose of the new highway was to enable Beijing residents to commute into the city more safely since they can avoid dangerous main roads.

Traffic police will enforce rules to stop motorcycles and electric bikes using the highway, said Gan.

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The new highway could be a useful supplement to existing bus services in the area and is therefore “necessary”, according to Chen Yanyan, vice-president of the urban transport department of Beijing Technology University, said.

Officials hope that the proposal will help to ease traffic congestion in the city, which is home to a fast-growing shared bike industry.

There are an estimated 2.4 million rental bicycles for the city’s 20 million inhabitants.

The city is also planning to build 600km of pedestrian walkways and cycle lanes across the city by the end of this year.