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Sidewalk parking does not need a crash course in common sense

Updated: 2021-07-20 08:05 ( China Daily )
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I consider myself to be a very tolerant person, and someone who tries to see the positive and optimistic side of whatever I am involved in. After all, there is no point to being intolerant and negative, as most people and ways of doing things have something useful to offer. My tolerant attitude is based on the fundamental premise that modern society is a very complex structure and that a collective attitude is the best way to achieve progress, whether that's in terms of people, the economy or relations between countries.

So what really offends me, or as we say in Britain, "sticks in my craw", is when people behave in a way that shows a disregard for others and as if they are important or have more rights than other people.

For example, just imagine that I, as a cyclist, decided to put my bike in the middle of the road and leave it there, or that I, as a pedestrian, decided to sit down in the middle of the road and the cars would just have to drive around me.

Both of these examples sound utterly ludicrous and unthinkable. But, please just replace the bike with a car and the road with a sidewalk, or pavement as we say in Britain, and you have a scenario that unfortunately occurs all too often in Beijing.

Just the other evening, as I was walking to the nearby park in my neighborhood, I was forced to walk on the road several times due to the ridiculous scenario. As I am a relatively fit and able-bodied person, this was a mere inconvenience and a frustration, but spare a thought for people less capable of dealing with this situation, such as the elderly or parents with young children in pushchairs. And this is all because you, Mr Motorist, want to park so close to the restaurant that you will hardly have to walk any distance at all. What's wrong with walking a bit further? Maybe the exercise would do you some good.

Some parts of Beijing have already made some progress in the battle against this menace, with barriers at the edge of sidewalks to prevent cars from coming any further, and the city does feel like a relatively safer place both for pedestrians and cyclists than it was more than a decade ago. But more efforts are required to both improve the conditions for all non-motorist residents of Beijing and to improve the overall image of the city.

Much is being done and much is being achieved to make this city a more harmonious place to live in, but let's go that extra mile with more rigorous enforcement of traffic and parking regulations to ensure that everyone in Beijing can equally enjoy their city and not face obstacles unnecessarily placed in their way by fellow residents.

And may I also ask my fellow cyclists to display a responsible attitude when they leave shared bikes, and ensure they are parked in the designated places. All too often, Beijing's sidewalks are also cluttered by these vehicles, causing many pedestrians significant inconvenience.

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