Cycling is promoted in cities around the world. It’s a key part of the urban green agenda: it reduces car use, has health benefits for the cyclists, and improves air quality for all who live and work in the urban realm. This arresting drone image, taken in April 2018, shows a ‘graveyard’ of thousands of bikes in the Chinese city of Wuhan. These bikes were taken out of service and discarded.
Bicycle share schemes have been highly popular and successful around the world. In many Chinese cities — including Shanghai, Wuhan and Beijing — they have also failed spectacularly, and fleets of bikes now rust in compounds. The reasons are complex. In 2017 China witnessed a bike-sharing boom funded by private investors. It was unplanned and unregulated. Several big cities were literally flooded with thousands of brightly coloured share-scheme bikes. Abandoned bikes created a nuisance, obstructing pedestrian areas and blocking roads. Supply hugely outstripped demand and city authorities impounded thousands of bikes. Many never even entered service. Bikes were vandalised due to mistrust around the use of location devices and chips collecting personal information.
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