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

  • NASA, ESA, and the Hubble Heritage Team

    2021 Hubble Space Telescope Advent Calendar

    Every day until Saturday, December 25, we’ll present one new image of our universe from NASA’s orbiting telescope.

  • Bruno Kelly / Reuters

    A Crackdown on Illegal Gold Dredging in Brazil

    Rumors of a gold discovery recently brought hundreds of illegal mining dredges to a river in the Amazon. Officials have set fire to more than 60 of them.

  • Xie Mingfei / VCG / Getty

    Photos of the Week: Apple Crisp, Squirrel Tea, Floating Pumpkin

    A crab migration on Christmas Island, dengue-fever outbreaks in Pakistan, a castle in eastern France, migrants crossing the English Channel, and much more

  • Carlos Osorio / Reuters

    A Visit to Churchill, Manitoba, During Polar-Bear Season

    Carlos Osorio, a photographer with Reuters, has spent the past week in Churchill, Manitoba, taking photos of polar bears, the town, and the frigid landscape.