Weigh the pros and cons of new things

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - COMMENT - UR­BAN PA­TROL OF­FI­CERS IN NANCHANG,

East China’s Jiangxi prov­ince, have im­pounded a to­tal of 26,000 short-time hire bikes il­le­gally parked on the city’s streets. Bei­jing Youth Daily com­mented on Mon­day:

The pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal’s tough re­sponse to the il­le­gally parked bikes has reignited the de­bate over how to man­age the sta­tion-less, GPS-en­abled hire bikes that have be­come a com­mon sight in Chi­nese cities. Some ar­gue that the au­thor­i­ties should adopt an open at­ti­tude to­ward the bikes as they are part of the shar­ing econ­omy, and the Nanchang ur­ban pa­trol of­fi­cers risk a se­ri­ous waste of re­sources by with­hold­ing that many bikes. Oth­ers ar­gue the bikes are a nui­sance and are just a new busi­ness model for hir­ing bikes rather than part of a shar­ing econ­omy.

While the au­thor­i­ties should keep an open mind to new things, they should not turn a blind eye to their down­sides ei­ther.

Hailed as a near-per­fect so­lu­tion to the last-mile dilemma fac­ing ur­ban com­muters, the in­flux of short-time hire bikes has not only re­sulted in them

be­ing chaot­i­cally parked but also caused safety risks in many cities.

It will be just a mat­ter of time be­fore they take over the side­walks if lo­cal gov­ern­ments do not in­ter­vene. Nei­ther the bike-providers nor their en­thu­si­as­tic in­vestors have solved the park­ing prob­lem. They need to co­op­er­ate with the lo­cal au­thor­i­ties and abide by the new reg­u­la­tions that have been in­tro­duced.

On their part, the au­thor­i­ties should im­ple­ment the rules flex­i­bly and proac­tively. The traf­fic po­lice in Shen­zhen have set a good ex­am­ple by tem­po­rar­ily ban­ning 13,615 peo­ple who vi­o­lated traf­fic reg­u­la­tions from us­ing shared bikes. The po­lice have al­ready no­ti­fied the bike-rent­ing com­pa­nies to de­ac­ti­vate the user ac­counts of these users for at least a week.

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