Shared tandem bikes come-and go

Updated 2017-08-15 10:37:43 China Daily
Tandem bicycles are seen in Shanghai in August 2017.

Tandem bicycles are seen in Shanghai in August 2017.

Police ordered a bike-sharing company to remove more than 120 tandem bicycles parked along sidewalks in Shanghai on Monday due to a nationwide ban on riding them on public roads.

The bikes, branded Chao, meaning "fashionable" in Chinese, had just arrived on a truck from a factory in Tianjin, and had been unloaded in Songjiang district to await distribution to campuses, parks and tourist attractions, according to Chaopai Technology Co.

However, authorities instantly told the company to relocate them to an off-street location, as bicycles built for two, as well as unicycles, are forbidden on public roads.

"We never intended to put the tandems along public streets," an employee with Chaopai based in Beijing who gave only her surname, Bi, said on Monday.

"The 120-plus bicycles in Shanghai were planned for parks and scenic spots, and were temporarily parked along streets waiting to be transferred during transportation," she said.

"The police objected to the bicycles being unloaded and tried to stop them. The workers put all the tandem bicycles back on the trucks under the instruction of the police. These bikes remain unused and have no cycling records, which indicates that they have never been ridden," Bi said.

Chao bikes, which are painted yellow and black, have been appearing in Beijing, Tianjin and Shanghai over the past three months. Each carries a notice in Chinese saying "prohibited from riding on the road".

Guo Jianrong, secretary-general of Shanghai Bicycle Association, said tandems are only permitted for entertainment in parks or other enclosed areas with permission from the local government.

Chaopai did not communicate with the association before putting its bikes in Songjiang district, he said, adding: "The police can stop any of these tandem bicycles from being ridden on public streets."

To use a Chao bike, users need to download an app and create an account using their phone number and ID. Users pay a 99 yuan () deposit before being authorized to use the bikes.

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