Beijing air pollution

Beijing to crack down on shared bikes littering pavements

Huge growth in bike-share schemes in the capital has led some riders to leave bicycles blocking pavements and other public areas

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 14 January, 2017, 1:31pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 14 January, 2017, 10:52pm

Beijing is to crack down on hired bicycles left blocking pavements and public areas since the boom in private-funded bike-share schemes hit the capital.

Rong Jun, a spokesman for the Beijing municipal transport department, said the authorities would also plan more parking spaces for bicycles this year and may order bike-share service providers to ensure that riders put cycles back in government-designated areas.

Bike-share schemes are viewed as a way of reducing congestion and air pollution by reducing the number of cars on the streets of the capital. Exhaust fumes are one of the main causes of smog in Beijing.

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A government-funded bike-share scheme put 80,000 cycles on the city streets and it also launched an app to lure more users. However, its business has largely been outpaced by Mobike and Ofo, two privately-run firms with foreign venture funding.

The government scheme already has parking areas designated for its bicycles, so the parking crackdown appears to be aimed at the private bike-share firms.

Zhang Xu, a transport analyst at Beijing internet consultancy, Analysys, said there was a wider problem with cars and other vehicles parking on pavements and blocking public areas in Beijing.

“The government tends to regulate new things, but it must not hurt the business environment,” Zhang said.

Tightened regulations would force private service providers to increase the monitoring of bike use and parking and even a slight increase in costs would make it harder for them to turn a profit, said Zhang. “The market can regulate itself very well,” he added.

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Many shared bikes in Chengdu in Sichuan province have been confiscated by the local law enforcement agencies for allegedly violating transport rules.

The authorities in Beijing have also pledged to tackle the issue of electric bikes and tricycles on the capital’s streets, the vast majority of which are unlicensed.

Tranport chiefs estimate it could take three years to solve the issue.