China: Around The Nation

‘Lives could be put at risk’: Beijing hospital warns abandoned shared bikes are blocking ambulances

Residents and staff warn that number of cycles left outside entrance is causing serious problems

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 3:09pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 September, 2017, 4:00pm

Beijing residents have complained that the entrance to a major hospital has become blocked by “over one hundred” shared bicycles, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Tuesday.

This has created a dangerous obstruction for emergency ambulances trying to enter and leave Jishuitan Hospital in the capital’s old Xicheng District, while neighbours can barely open the gates to their own front yards.

Jishuitan Hospital has more than 1,500 beds and is one of the capital’s most prominent general hospitals.

A hospital warden told the newspaper that the parked bicycles at the entrance and nearby side roads were a nuisance especially at peak morning rush hour.

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“But there’s no solution, I can’t forbid people to ride shared bikes here,” they said. “The most I can do is tell them not to park their bikes haphazardly near the hospital entrance, but people largely ignore me.”

Emergency ambulances now mainly use the hospital’s south entrance which lies on a main road.

“The situation is slightly better there, but even that location is often blocked with parked bicycles,” said the unnamed warden.

“In emergency situations, people could really die from the delay in reaching the hospital.”

The hospital officially does not allow bicycles to be parked near its entrance, but many of the bikes have been left by hospital staff and visitors, according to a neighbour.

“I see the roads being blocked to death almost every morning by the shared bikes,” she told the paper.

Users of Weibo, a Twitter-like social network, also complained about the problem.

“Companies have blindly expanded bike-sharing schemes to gain a bigger share of the market,” said one commenter.

“This then puts a lot of pressure on city transport systems. Sooner or later shared bikes will be cleared out.”

Fifteen bike-sharing schemes operate in Beijing alone. Their rapid growth in urban areas, coupled with a previous lack of regulations, have fuelled public safety concerns.

Users can park the dockless bikes anywhere, leading to piles of bikes being left abandoned on city pavements and obstructing streets.

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Several major Chinese cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan have in the last year introduced bans on new deliveries of shared bikes due to overcrowding on the roads.

Bike-sharing companies also have designated removal vehicles which redistribute bicycles that are not in use around the city, according to the report.

Pedestrians can also report a build-up of unused shared bikes to their customer service hotlines.