'Last mile' solution requires regulating

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Bike-sharing services operated by platforms such as Mobike have become an effective solution to the "last mile" problem for urban commuters, Minister of Transport Li Xiaopeng said on Monday. Sznews.com commented on Wednesday:

Bike-sharing services have boomed since the middle of last year and swept across the country in just a few months. It is estimated that in Shenzhen, South China's Guangdong province, there are over 320,000 sharing bikes and at least 2 million citizens are using them per day-far more than those hailing cabs.

It is no exaggeration to say Mobikes and its rivals have become a major commuting choice. But how to manage them and hold unruly users accountable remains a thorn in the side of local governments.

In other words, online discussions and censures are not enough to deal with the problems of bike sharing, which range from illegal parking and rising maintenance costs to vandalism.

In Shenzhen a number of city roads are accessed by both vehicles and bicycles without the needed lane separators, which poses a threat to cyclists many of whom are "forced" to ride with cars and buses due to the lack of exclusive bicycle lanes.

Misuse of sharing bikes is another problem. Disorderly parking and damage to the bikes are no longer news to most people.

The situation will only worsen as bike-sharing apps keep dispatching bikes to more cities, adding to the daily pressures facing urban management. Urging users to exercise self-discipline yet refusing to embrace the truth that bike-sharing services are now part of the mainstream is not a feasible solution. More bicycle lanes are needed along with systematic legislative efforts to regulate and protect the emerging industry.

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