Three new kinds of public bike storage facilities will be tested on Beijing's streets this year, in a bid to address the problem of shared bikes taking up too much space and causing inconvenience to pedestrians, Beijing Youth Daily reported.
The three types of bike rack are all designed to take up a minimal amount of space at ground level and use as much space above ground as possible, according to Tian Xiangjun, vice-president of Shougang Group’s urban transportation company, which developed the storage facilities.
Tian told a radio program last month that one of the racks looks like a tree, or an umbrella, and can hold 16 bikes in the air. The second can be built along a pedestrian overpass, and can store up to 120 bikes on shelves. The third looks like a round tower, inside which 94 bikes can be parked.
Designers have taken Beijing's weather conditions into consideration, and the facilities will work safely even if the city is hit by gales or heavy snow, he said.
Usually it takes only 10 seconds for users to store or pick up a bike. Those using their own bikes can also use the facilities and can set up a password to prevent theft.
Tian said the company is working on five more designs for public bike storage facilities, which are still at the conceptual stages.
The company is planning to test the first three types of facilities in Beijing this year.
But they will not be free to use, Tian said, adding that the fee collecting plan is still under discussion.
The millions of shared bikes parked on the city's streets have become a headache for city management departments, causing congestion outside subway entrances, supermarkets and parks.
In September, the Beijing Municipal Committee of Transport introduced rules on parking of shared bike to address problems such as bikes impeding the movement of vehicles or pedestrians, and occupying vehicle lanes and fire lanes.
Shared bike service providers have take measures to regulate bike parking. Bike-sharing giant Mobike said it employs staff to deal with incorrectly parked bikes and sends messages through mobile apps reminding users to park in permitted places.
Yang Ruiyang, a student at Beijing Language and Culture University, said that the parking problem could only be improved if strict punitive measures are introduced for those who refuse to park the bikes in official bike storage facilities.