2017-11-16 12:13:10

A Beijing court closed the city’s first case on the management of shared bikes Wednesday. A property management company had sued Mobike for 100 yuan ($15) in compensation for having to deal with the shared bikes strewn across its grounds, but the Beijing Haidian District People’s Court ruled against this claim.

The company, Beijing Enjoy Life Property Management Ltd., claimed that since early 2017, the neighborhood it manages has become overrun with hundreds of silver-orange bicycles. After several unsuccessful attempts to negotiate with bike-sharing company Mobike, the property service collected all the illegally parked two-wheelers and chained them up in an underground parking lot. After Mobike contacted the police, the company returned the vehicles but asked for a management fee of 100 yuan.

The court ruled that the property management company had deprived users of easy access to the shared bikes, and that its actions were not in Mobike’s best interest.

The verdict added that shared-bike users were responsible for the parking chaos in the neighborhood. Under Mobike’s user agreement, individuals who take advantage of the service must agree to park properly in designated areas rather than on private property or over tactile sidewalks for visually impaired pedestrians.

Yet poorly parked rental bikes have become a veritable scourge in many Chinese cities, whose administrators often find themselves at a loss for how best to tackle the issue. Beijing alone has 2.35 million rental bikes, according to Beijing TV, and in September the city banned bike-sharing companies from introducing more vehicles.

Mobike’s legal representative, Wang Xiuhai, told The Beijing News that the company has come up with several ways to address parking problems, including giving out cash bonuses to encourage proper parking — though he also admitted the issue requires ongoing effort.

Beijing is not alone in trying to control the shared-bike boom. Earlier this month, the neighboring city of Tianjin confiscated 20,000 illegally parked shared bikes, according to local media.

The southern city of Shenzhen also announced recently that bike-sharing companies can be fined up to 50,000 yuan for distributing their fleet haphazardly, while individual riders can be fined up to 1,000 yuan. Last year, the city was also the first in China to allow bad biking behavior to impact citizens’ personal credit scores.

Editor: Qian Jinghua.

(Header image: Commuters riding shared bicycles crowd a bike lane during rush hour in Beijing, April 11, 2017. Kevin Frayer/Getty Images/VCG)