The normal urban environment is not designed for bicycles. On roads they are threatened by cars, and bicycles on paths and pavements threaten pedestrians. Bicycles are also threatened by parked cars as they make it difficult for the rider to see other people and for other people to see him. Many of the inevitable accidents between cyclists and automobiles and larger vehicles cause fatal or serious injuries and almost invariably these are only to the riders of the bicycles, mopeds, and motorcycles which have been struck or over-run; many of the victims are children and young people. Lack of provision for well-defined traffic rules for drivers of all conveyances; lack of integrated traffic control methods that serve automobiles, buses and commercial traffic, as well as students, workers and shoppers on two-wheelers; and lack of special lanes or bicycle paths, are contributory factors to cycling dangers and obstacles to their use.
Asian countries like China and India depend overwhelmingly on human-powered vehicles. Together the two largest Third World countries have 600 million bicycles but less than one percent of the world's automobiles. But cars and buses are fast replacing bicycles, rickshaws and pedicabs in the Third World. China plans to invest $10 billion in the automobile industry and produce a million cars by 2000. Although most Chinese currently get around on bicycles, the World Bank recently issued a massive report on transport in China which did not even mention the word bicycle. As a result Chinese planners now call for bicycle traffic to be strictly controlled with the ultimate intent of reducing it to an auxiliary means of short-range transportation. An extract from an official report reads: "The traffic role of bicycles will gradually phase out when urban transport becomes modernized... (In the West, bicycles) have already been reduced to being tools of sports, recreation and tourism. Such examples should serve as our reference in the planning of our future urban development. Becaks, three-wheeled cycle-rickshaws common in Indonesia, have been officially banned as inefficient and the major cause of traffic congestion.