Well, I don’t really know if there are less bikes overall or not, but I do want to point out an observation from this trip. On past trips to China, I have posted several shots of various bikes on the street, including pictures of hundreds of bikes outside of factories that I have visited. Don’t get me wrong, bikes are still all over the place here, but I have noticed far less bicycles parked outside of some of the same factories where I had seen so many of them before. It seems that many of them have been replaced with mopeds, motorized scooters, motorcycles, and even electrobikes.
So what is driving this trend toward motorized two-wheeled transportation for the masses? I have two pretty good guesses. First traffic is getting worse and it is increasingly more dangerous to ride on the streets here in most places (especially the heavily industrialized ones). Secondly, the government has recently reformed the labor laws so that the average factory worker is making more money than a few years ago. I believe that that second reason has a lot to do with the shift from pure pedal powered transportation that I am noticing on this trip. That is just an opinion based on my observations though. I would love to hear from others who visit China often or, better yet, from some of you who live here. Are the number of bikes on the road declining as motorized options become more affordable to the masses?