The two-wheeled renaissance in China—an empirical review of bicycle, E-bike, and motorbike development

Tianqi Gu, Inhi Kim, Graham Currie

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleOtherpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


This paper is an empirical review of the development of two-wheeled transport, comprising human-powered bicycles, E-bikes, and motorbikes in China from 1985 to 2019, aimed at investigating the development of two-wheeled transport in China. A series of demand-side factors (e.g., rapid urbanization) and supply-side factors (e.g., obsolete infrastructure) are explored. The mode share of human-powered bicycles decreased steadily until 2016, the year dockless bikeshare (DBS) emerged. During that time, government policy changed from “encouraged”, “discouraged”, “converted and re-recognized” to “encouraged again” due to sophisticated socio-economic change. E-bikes and motorbikes witnessed an independent growth trend and changing political attitude from that of human-powered bicycles. The future of the human-powered bicycle transport mode in China is promising, due to favorable government policies and the growing demand from users for a flexible mode of transport to serve short-middle distance and last-mile trips. E-bikes have an uncertain future since local policies differ, and safety issues are yet to be addressed. Motorbikes, due to their negative safety and environmental considerations, have been increasingly replaced by automobiles, and this makes their future position marginal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)239-258
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Transportation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Bikeshare
  • China
  • dockless bikeshare
  • E-bike
  • human-powered bicycle
  • motorbike

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