Monday, 5 July 2010

It’s the Beijing naked bike ride!

[Photo: Ji Bin]

Inspired by the World Naked Bike Ride Day, usually held in June worldwide since 2004, nearly 30 bicycle riders gathered at Club Tango in Dongcheng district Saturday morning. They then set off "naked" from Yonghegong Lama Temple to Chaoyang Park. The cyclists claimed to be using their naked bodies to protest the car drivers' carelessness when coming into contact with cyclists.

"Cyclists are the disadvantaged group on the road, but cars are always used to show off wealth in China. The car drivers seldom take care of cyclists," the organizer Zhou Lei told the Global Times.

Zhou hopes to promote the campaign to other cities around the country. "Chinese people are not too shy to ride naked, but they were not sure about the government's attitude."

Only 19.7 percent of Beijing residents ride bicycles as of 2009, reduced from 40 percent in 2000, 57 percent in 1990 and 60 percent in 1986.

There were 4 million bicycles in the city in 1989, according to the Beijing Times. The city government once enacted a proposal that was intended to promote bicycle transport with the aim of getting 23 percent of Beijing residents back riding bikes by 2015, but it's unclear how this goal is progressing.