Starting from June 1, users in Southern China’s city of Shenzhen will be forbidden to use bike rental services for at least one week if they are found to violate road traffic regulations.
The new rules, which will be trialed this month and come into effect in July this year, are the latest efforts by local authorities to deal with the growing problems emerging with the bike-rental boom, such as illegal parking, traffic offenses, and bike accidents.
Shenzhen traffic police will share data on non-motor vehicle traffic violations with bike rental firms in the city beginning June 1, and these firms will suspend bike rental services to the road traffic regulation violators within five working days of receiving the data. A bike rental user with one traffic offense within a year will not be allowed to use the rental service for one week, two traffic offenses for one month, and three offenses for half a year.
Shenzhen has been active in implementing rules to regulate the bike rental industry. As the first city in China to introduce bike rental regulations, it unveiled the draft rules as early as last December when bike rentals have yet to take shape in the country.
Now it has taken a further step to team up with bike rental firms to regulate the use of bikes among users, as there have been 15 traffic accidents related to bike rentals in the city since the beginning of this year, with eight people killed and nine injured, according to Shenzhen traffic police.
While there may be bicycle hardware problems such as failed brakes causing the accidents, users have themselves to blame for the consequences of their improper actions such as running the red light or the misuse of bikes.
Some just disregard rules, although there have been regulations in some cities including Shenzhen, Shanghai, and Tianjin, banning users less than 12 years old from riding rental bikes. In one deadly lesson, an 11-year-old Shanghai boy riding a rental bike died at a hospital after colliding with a bus at road intersections in March.
With Shenzhen taking the lead to discipline bike rental user behaviors, other cities are expected to follow suit. Bike rentals will still be favorable to people in the long haul as long as regulators step in and users discipline themselves.