There are about 21 million people in Beijing, China, but approximately half that many bicycles. By comparison, less than 6 million cars are registered in the entire city plus around 700,000 from out of town most days, which still means bikes are everywhere and outnumber cars by two to one. How many bicycles are in Beijing?
As of 2022, there are 21 million people in Beijing China and 13 million bicycles. Bike services only own about 500,000 of these for use as shared bikes you can rent. Individuals own the rest because it’s difficult to register a car in a city that actively discourages it, so cycling everywhere is a fast, healthy, practical solution.
To see all of my up-to-date recommendations for bikes and cycling gear, check out this resource that I made for you!
Table of Contents
How Many Bikes In China
There are more than 1.4 billion people in China, and the country is home to around half a billion bicycles.
That is more than any other country, though not as many per-capita as the Netherlands. Despite that shocking number, bicycle use per capita has steadily declined in China since the mid-1990s.
A smaller percentage of Chinese citizens ride now than in the past.
China has always encouraged citizens to ride or take public transportation instead of driving.
With crowded subways and busses, it’s more desirable to cycle to work or the grocery store.
Why Are There So Many Bikes In China
Bicycling is a significant advantage in most of China because the majority of the population lives in large cities, and the traffic congestion is among the worst in the world.
Owning a car is difficult and expensive, plus the ability to park is minimal. Additionally, the roadways are made to accommodate bicycles, and they typically have the right of way at intersections.
By creating an environment that is conducive to bikes, China is managing its traffic better.
It also helps reduce pollution and keep people healthier as a pleasant side effect. It is also easy to get a bicycle in China because they are cost-effective and widely available.
There Are 9 Million Bicycles In Beijing
As of this year, there are more than 13 million bicycles in Beijing. However, there are large number of stolen bicycles.
Because they are so ubiquitous, it’s easy to ignore anyone on a bike and assume they simply belong there.
Unfortunately, bikes everywhere mean there’s a massive market for bikes, and where there’s money, there are criminals.
Stealing a bicycle in Beijing is probably easy work for criminals in need of a quick buck. Plus, finding a buyer never takes long.
How Many Bicycles In Beijing 2005
In 2005 there were around 9 million bicycles in China. However, due to the repeal of the bicycle registration act, the exact number was less well accounted for than in the past.
Still, that is a fair estimate based on how many bikes were sold and those already owned.
How Many Bicycles In Beijing 2019
In 2019 the estimated number of bicycles in Beijing was most likely hovering around 10 million.
From the mid-1990s to 2002, there had been a concentrated bike reduction, and the trend was still downward in terms of purchasing.
However, no one kept an exact count year by year to see how many new bicycles were sold in Beijing.
How Many Bicycles In Beijing 2021
By 2021, the number of bicycles in Beijing went up along with the population. Thanks to the pandemic and lockdowns, people were forced to stay in most of the time.
Too much time indoors led to a population baby boom in most of the world, including China.
Despite the severity of its lockdown procedures, people still bought bikes for when they were going out because it was safer than riding a packed subway or bus if you could avoid them.
Again, the exact number of sales was not recorded, and the number of bicycles in the city was not published for 2021.
How Many Bicycles In Beijing 2022
In the first part of 2022, the estimate for bicycles in Beijing was around 13 million. This was the first time in several years that information was published and readily available stating exactly how many bikes are in Beijing.
However, that is not an exact number. There was a time when every bike was registered when it sold, but the rule changed back in 2004.
According to a back-issue of China Daily, “China’s more than 1.3 billion people may directly ride their new bicycles from the store to the roads without first going to the police for registration. New road traffic safety rules were passed in Beijing Friday, abolishing the bicycle registration system which had been in place for nearly half a century.”
The old registration system was considered a hassle. Moreover, while they certainly must have added up, the minimal fees weren’t worth the amount of work that went into administration for the program.
How Many Bicycles In Beijing Now
Unlike other parts of China, Beijing averages more than one bicycle per household.
According to current statistics, there are about 21 million people in Beijing, and the average household is around 2.3 people this year.
That means there should be about 9 million bikes, but there are actually many more.
Thirteen million bicycles is a conservative estimate. There are probably at least a million bikes for sale in bicycle shops, plus another half-million unaccounted for.
My best estimate right now is that there are approximately fourteen and a half million bikes in Beijing.
Helpful Tips To Know About How Many Bicycles Are In Beijing
There are over thirteen million bicycles in Beijing today, and more are coming all the time. People’s desire to get around and enjoy a good ride isn’t going to change anytime soon.
Here are more helpful tips to know about how many bicycles are in Beijing.
- At one point, the bike lanes in Beijing were three car lanes wide. Even without the internet, photographs of the packed bicycle traffic in China spread around the world, earning the country the nickname Kingdom of Bicycles.
- More than a hundred million bicycles are made each year, and an inordinate number of these are produced in China. Even bikes made or assembled in the places often have popular Shimano parts in their drivetrains, which come from China. Bicycling isn’t just part of the culture in China. It is a major export as well.
- Beijing is 6,336 square miles and houses twenty-one million people. If they all had cars, no road system could handle the traffic. Beijing manages its traffic better by limiting cars and putting funds into public transportation like subways. Public and private bicycles are a large part of traffic management and help make it possible for people to get around in such a vast and densely populated place.
- In recent years, bicycles have lost some of their intrinsic value to the Chinese. However, they are still a vital and deeply ingrained part of Chinese culture, especially in the larger cities.
If you plan to ride a bike in Beijing, you will be joining the throngs of locals who do so daily. It is more common to have a bicycle in China than in American cities, and riding is practically a national pastime.
With an average of one bike per household and numerous bike rental services, citizens in Beijing have no trouble getting out for a ride.
However, if you cycle in Beijing, make sure you lock up well because the thirteen million bicycles make a tempting target for thieves who aren’t shy about taking and reselling those bikes.