News Article

This Is Not What European Cities Want!

Industry- & Retail Organizations

BRUSSELS, Belgium – Photos of huge stacks, the size of football fields, of dockless sharing bikes in Chinese cities are despised by European city planners and many others. Is this how the future of the current boom of urban cycling looks? Innovators in the bike sharing business and bike sharing cities came together at a recent workshop organised by the Platform for European Bicycle Sharing & Systems (PBESS) to tackle the challenges facing by this new industry.

This Is Not What European Cities Want!
European cities fear same kind of chaotic situations in their street with the arrival of Chinese bike sharing systems. – Photo Bike Europe 

Cities such as London, Dublin, Singapore, Moscow, Helsinki, Copenhagen, Lyon and many more exchanged experiences at the PBESS workshop together with EU officials, international organizations (UITP, ITDP, NACTO), and a wide variety of operators and bike share IT suppliers. Political input came from Minister for Mobility Pascal Smet, of the Brussels Capital Region, together with European Member of Parliament Michael Cramer.

Boom in overall cycling

The shared goal was an approach that will be a major resource to create more livable cities, contributing to a boom in overall cycling across the urban environment. The launch of Ofo and Mobike in cities across Europe this summer already caused lots of uproar as people fear to be faced with the same chaotic conditions in their streets. Earlier this week ‘The Guardian’ called the piles of dockless bicycles in China “a monument to industry’s ‘arrogance’”.

According to the report, “the bankruptcy of China’s number three bike sharing company Bluegogo’s sparked questions about the future of dockless bike sharing in China, amid concerns there are too many bikes and insufficient demand.”

Call for shared regulatory frameworks

“Not surprisingly the conclusion at the PBESS workshop was almost unanimous,” said PEBSS Director Paul Stratta. “Cities and regions in Europe need new and shared regulatory frameworks to allow bike share to continue as one of the breakthrough technologies in 21st century mobility. Businesses also need new structures to allow for a level-playing-field in competition and investment and to allow sustainable business models to emerge. There is huge benefit if these developments are mutually developed and share the expertise of cities and business.”

After the workshop PEBSS Director Paul Stratta concluded: “I am pleased PEBSS is delivering on its mission to facilitate the open, frank workplace for the entire bike share eco-system. I can see that all parties involved came away with a passion to continue the debate.”

The Platform for European Bicycle Sharing & Systems is an initiative of the European Cyclists’ Federation (ECF) aimed at stimulating an exchange of ‘best practices’ across the shared bicycle mobility community.

Comment on this article