Beijing races to control rental bike sector chaos
BEIJING: A booming rental bike business has flooded China’s streets with packs of cyclists, but their habit of going the wrong way and abandoning their rides anywhere is causing havoc.
The authorities, scrambling to catch up, are considering new regulations to curb the chaos — from capping the number of bikes to even barring people they consider too big or too small for bicycles.
Unlike the docking station systems in cities like London, Paris or New York, the bikes in China can essentially be found and left anywhere.
From Beijing to Tibet, riders can grab a yellow, blue, green or orange bike by opening a smartphone app and pointing their camera at a QR code that releases a lock for as low as one yuan (62 sen).
Once the ride’s over, they simply park the bike and apply the lock.
But many simply leave the bikes in the middle of sidewalks or abandon them haphazardly on freeways. The rules that do exist are often ignored.
This has culminated in fatal accidents in recent months, including the death of a child, spurring officials into action.
In recent weeks, police around the country have impounded thousands of bikes that were discarded in piles. But companies plan to put thousands more on the streets.
Some 30 different providers wrestling for market share have placed more than three million bikes on streets around the country, according to state media.
There were 18.9 million users of shared bicycles nationwide last