Briefing: ofo may soon require users to park bikes in designated areas

ofo将于本月10日推新版用户停车规范,用户须在指定区域停车 – PingWest

What happened: ofo released a somewhat vague notice on Thursday (Dec. 6) saying it would begin regulating users’ parking habits across China. In response to government requests to reduce the “negative impact on society” of improperly parked bikes, ofo will begin enforcing new rules in select cities beginning Dec. 10. In accordance with cycling data, the company will designate commonly used spots as parking areas. In addition, government departments will choose certain locations to serve as parking sites. Leaving one’s bike elsewhere will be considered “non-standard” behavior, with more specific rules—and presumably consequences—to be released in the future.

Why it’s important: Despite cash flow problems and a shrinking of overseas operations, ofo remains one of the most high-profile bike-rental startups in China today. As such, it’s been subject to government attempts to better regulate the industry, which have resulted in abandoned “bike graveyards” as well as crowded city sidewalks. ofo’s move to designate parking spots may point towards a new trend in the bike-rental industry, with more players following suit. It may result in fewer headaches for local city governments, although it also spells more restricted mobility for China’s many bike-rental users.