Bike pollution

A few weeks ago, after traveling across China to both Shanghai and Xi’an, I wrote a blog post about one perhaps minute, but vibrant aspect of each city. In case you have never been to Asia, know one thing, the streets are cluttered with bikes.

Bikesharing has taken Asia by storm and Ofo, the leader in the space, is looking to expand.

I think the idea is cool. In theory, bikes emit fewer greenhouse gases then say, cars, and, in theory, provide a convenient and accessible means of transportation.

But…in exploring these cities, I saw a ton of bikes. Importantly, though, I saw a ton of bikes lying there not being used. I saw cluttered streets. Cluttered markets. Broken chains. Flat tires.

It was a mess.

And last week, I explored Beijing. And I saw the same thing. Tons of bikes. No one using them.

This is bike pollution.

Really it is street pollution and, in my mind, ruins the aesthetic of cities.

Cities are becoming junkyards and infested by metal bikes.

As bikesharing comes the United States, I wonder if the same thing will happen.

The average bike is utilized <1 times a day. This is clearly unsustainable and not really a net positive for cities. In reimagining how cities move, and conquer the last mile problem, I imagine there must be a better way that not only provides a cleaner solution but also one that is more conducive to beauty and preservation of culture.