New guidelines aim to stem the flood of shared bikes on China's city streets

New guidelines were announced to control the flow of shared rental bikes on the streets and to protect children under the age of 12, among other things.
Imaginechina

A man takes a bicycle from bike-sharing company Ofo, next to a pile of bikes from its largest competitor, Mobike, which were trashed on the street by frustrated building managers in Beijing on Monday July 3. 

A slew of guidelines were announced Thursday by the central government to regulate the booming bike sharing industry.

The regulations stipulate, among other things, that bike rental companies should not be accessible to children under 12 years of age. 

The regulations were approved by the State Council and published by 10 government organizations including the Ministry of Transport, the National Development and Reform Commission and the Ministry of Public Security.

The rules also state that bike rental companies should deploy bikes at an orderly pace and make sure they are parked in designated areas. Widespread complaints have been made about chaotic parking of bikes in public areas, which jam major traffic arteries or block roads.

Users are now also required to use their real identities to rent bikes.

Further, companies should set up a mechanism for users to report problems or complaints, and buy injury insurance for users. Deposits paid by users should be saved in a specialized account, which is subject to the supervision of transport or financial departments.

More than 10 million shared bikes are currently on the streets of Chinese cities, operated by over 30 companies.

Between them, Mobike and Ofo make up more than 90 percent of the market.

There were 18.9 million users of shared bikes in China in 2016. That number is expected to hit 50 million by the end of this year.

Booming bike-sharing has led to urban management challenges such as congested city sidewalks.

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