White Lines, Don't Do It: Beijing Public Angry at Tiny Parking Spaces Designated for Share Bikes
Beijing proposals to control the nuisance of its out-of-control bike-sharing economy have hit a snag as city residents react negatively against the small sizes of designated share bike parking spaces.
The new parking spaces will be put into use during a pilot program to begin this July and August in Dongcheng District, which has banned bike share parking from 600 public areas.
Parking of share bikes will be monitored by an "electronic fence" that can accurately determine whether or not a bike is inside the designated area (we're not completely certain how this will work in reality). And, according to Chinese news reports, share bike users will continue to be charged user fees if their bicycle does not fit inside the parking zone.
The photo accompanying the news report shows an area of approximately two by three meters, equivalent to the half the size of a small car.
When the Beijinger first told you about a wide stretch of sidewalk reserved for share bikes back in March, we considered the proposals "sensible and reasonable." But in light of this recent news, Beijing residents are angered by the new regulations, reasoning the new rules will do away with the convenience that makes bike-sharing such a positive service in the first place.
One Chinese Internet user wrote, "From this point on, share bicycles have lost their reason for existing," while another said: "Do the people who decided this policy have brains?"
Other users posed hypothetical situations. One person said, "How do you expect me to park a bike in a space so small? Should I just stack them on top?" while another said, "So if my share bike breaks on the way to a destination, I should just carry it home on my back?"
One commentator gave this solution: "It's too tiring to stack them, so the best course of action is to push somebody else's bike out of the designated space so you can push yours in."
Use of share bikes have become so overwhelmingly popular in Beijing that they often occupy a sizable portion of sidewalk space, leading one user to ask, "So what if it's full?"
For reference, this is what share bike parking is currently like in Wangjing's Soho:
And in other Beijing areas:
Ever since the bike-sharing economy took off last August, an estimated 700,000 share bikes have popped up in Beijing and are used by 11 million cyclists across the city's growing number of bike share platforms. Share bikes have become such a nuisance that numerous videos have been posted of city workers angrily tossing share bicycles into carelessly stacked piles as a way to deal with them.
And yet, share bikes have their supporters, too.
Share bikes were flouted as part of the hype for the recent Belt and Road Summit. In fact, China is so proud of its bike sharing economy that it has been dubbed one of its "New Four Great Inventions," the others being the country's high-speed railway, its 4G network, and its online payment system.
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