Since Asia’s first bike share programmes were opened in China and Taiwan in 2009, following earlier schemes in Europe, many people have recognised Hong Kong’s potential for similar services.
Shatin District and other new towns already have cycle track networks and a cycling culture, although this component of our transport mix is often overlooked in government planning.
Bike share overcomes several obstacles to people making more use of bikes – including the lack of secure cycle parking at many residential developments, which both inhibits bike ownership and leads to the unsatisfactory use of public parking locations as long-term homes for owned bicycles.
Bike sharing will ultimately be an especial boon in the urban areas, where many journeys are in the 1-5 km ‘sweet spot’ where bikes are more convenient than either walking or public transport. The many potential users will ensure high usage rates.
Experience elsewhere has shown that fears of carnage on the streets, or that motorists are unable to adapt, are misplaced.
In 2013 in New York, ahead of the launch of Citibike, such doom-mongering was widespread, with people noting that New York had a busy road system and notoriously unforgiving drivers. One and a half years later, after New Yorkers had made 13.6 million Citibike journeys, the minimal levels of conflict or injury, and huge success of the scheme were widely acknowledged.
In Hong Kong, a number of specific projects, such as the New Territories Cycle Track Network, the proposed Harbourfront Cycleway on Hong Kong Island, and the Kai Tak Development, would all benefit from bike share services.
The GoBee system takes up the model of app-based bike share that has transformed many cities in China in the last year.
Martin Turner, chairman of Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, said, “There’s no going back, app-based bike share is about to conquer the world, and it’s fantastic that Hong Kong has this new programme ahead of so many other places.”
Members of Hong Kong Cycling Alliance, including Martin Turner, will attend this afternoon’s launch in Shatin.
(Event hosted by GoBee Bike. 3pm at Auditorium, Yuen Wo Road Sport Centre, 8 Yuen Wo Rd, Sha Tin)
About Hong Kong Cycling Alliance
The Hong Kong Cycling Alliance works to encourage an improved environment for cycling in Hong Kong and to promote a wider role for cycling – for commuting and transport, recreation, tourism, health and fitness, and fun. We develop practical cycling solutions, engage with authorities, provide technical expertise to planners and others, enhance public appreciation of cycling, support the take-up of cycling by individuals and organisations, and share news and information with Hong Kong’s thriving cycling community.