City gears up efforts to stop random parking of bikes

Apr 21 | Source: by Shanghai Daily

Hangzhou authorities have seized over 4,000 rental bikes for illegal parking and will take new measures to regulate bike-sharing business as the Labor Day holiday is drawing close, according to Qianjiang Evening News.

Complaints about chaotic bike parking rose during this past Qingming Festival. The problem was even worse in the West Lake Scenic Area where bikes stood in lanes of auto vehicles.

Traffic authorities had to send more officers to remove illegally parked bikes. Snapshots of the scenes were posted online and sparked a heated debate about a green solution that has turned sour.

"Roads around West Lake are narrow," said Wang Tian, an official with the scenic area administration. "Randomly parked bikes make them narrower and more jammed. It's impossible to find a bike parking area because every inch of land around the lake is precious."

It is estimated that seven bike-sharing companies have deployed a total of 150,000 bikes in Hangzhou. Before them, the city already has the world's largest public bike system with 86,800 bikes used by 473,000 people on an average day.

Bike-sharing programs flourished in many big cities in China in the past few months. Users can rent a bike in one location and drop it off at their destination. Payment and unlocking a bike can be done with a phone app. By contrast, the public bike system requires the use of smart cards and parking at fixed docking stations.

Hangzhou has initiated a tighter traffic inspection system that fines 10 yuan (US$1.47) for anyone caught illegally parking a bike. If the rider can't be located, the bike will be towed away.

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