Mo-bike or less bikes?

The misuse and vandalism of bikes from bike-sharing companies like Mobike and ofo are widely reported across Singapore. Juan Sufyan finds out what the situation in RP is like.

BIKE ABUSE: Several bikes were seen lying on top of the grass patch and floor near the entrance of the school instead of being nicely arranged. (PHOTO: Alexa Chong)

If you noticed bikes lying on grass patches in RP or along corridors, would you do anything except shake your head at irresponsible users who decided not to park them properly?

One man has gone a step further by taking these bikes and parking them neatly, out of the way so they are not an eyesore.

Meet Mr Madmud Rahim, a 51-year-old cleaner, who rides his own bike to school every day. When he comes across bikes parked indiscriminately – which is almost every day – he simply gets off his bike and moves the bike-sharing vehicles out of the way.

“Although it is not part of my duty as cleaner, I still shift Mobikes out of the way for necessity as I cycle to work. When I reach the bicycle bay every morning, I see a lot of things. They never park at the proper place and just park to their heart’s content, which blocks the way of other people,” said Mr Madmud.

The issue on bicycles belonging to bike-sharing company being littered around the country is a well-documented one. From tossing them off HDB blocks to taking them for a swim in the canals, these bikes are seemingly built for abuse.

In RP, bikes from bike-sharing firms can be seen parked on grass patches, along the pavement and on ‘No parking zones’.

“Some anyhow park the bikes and that is not very good because they are obstructing pedestrian and visitors going in,” said Mr S O Vijay, 70, a security officer at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).

As a security offer, he sees another possible downside to bikes parked away from their designated spots. “You see, this bike parked here, this is for fire engines to come in if there is an emergency, so this can be dangerous,’’ said Mr Vijay pointing to a bike parked at W5.

Students too are affected. “They (rental bikes) take up designated space for people who ride their own bikes,” said Muhammad Haziq, 17, a first year student at the School of Management and Communication.

When he is in a hurry, Haziq simply parks his bike wherever there is space – which doesn’t make it safe he says. “When I have time, I will shift the Mobike away so I can park my bicycle in the proper parking bay,’’ he added.

Mobike user Lok Hing, 33, a staff in RP said there has to be greater awareness among users and they should be educated on being careful about property which doesn’t belong to them. But he admitted that a demerit system introduced by Mobike earlier this year may work for now.

Under the system, Mobike users who park in designated areas will be rewarded with credits, and given demerit points for inappropriate parking,

“It is our own responsibility to ensure that the bikes are fully functional for the next user. Don’t we expect the same when we use these bikes?” asked Mr Lok Hing.