The Bike-Share Oversupply in China: Huge Piles of Abandoned and Broken Bicycles

Last year, bike sharing took off in China, with dozens of bike-share companies quickly flooding city streets with millions of brightly colored rental bicycles. However, the rapid growth vastly outpaced immediate demand and overwhelmed Chinese cities, where infrastructure and regulations were not prepared to handle a sudden flood of millions of shared bicycles. Riders would park bikes anywhere, or just abandon them, resulting in bicycles piling up and blocking already-crowded streets and pathways. As cities impounded derelict bikes by the thousands, they moved quickly to cap growth and regulate the industry. Vast piles of impounded, abandoned, and broken bicycles have become a familiar sight in many big cities. As some of the companies who jumped in too big and too early have begun to fold, their huge surplus of bicycles can be found collecting dust in vast vacant lots. Bike sharing remains very popular in China, and will likely continue to grow, just probably at a more sustainable rate. Meanwhile, we are left with these images of speculation gone wild—the piles of debris left behind after the bubble bursts.

Read more
Hints: View this page full screen. Skip to the next and previous photo by typing j/k or ←/→.

Most Recent

  • Marcelo Hernandez / Getty

    The Dogs Trained to Sniff Out COVID-19

    Images from around the world, showing canine COVID-19–detection programs under development

  • Franck Fife / AFP / Getty

    Photos From the 2021 Dakar Rally

    Some of the scenes from this year’s 14-day, 4,751-mile race through Saudi Arabia

  • Chip Somodevilla / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Ice Castles, Northern Lights, Inauguration Fireworks

    Fashion Week in Berlin, the departure of former President Donald Trump, bull-taming in India, a snow-covered Great Wall in China, diploma artwork in New York City, and much more

  • Andrew Harnik / AFP / Getty

    Photos: The Inauguration of President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

    Scenes from a unique moment in American history