(Yicai Global) March 28 -- Over the weekend an 11-year old boy riding an Ofo shared bicycle in Shanghai died in a car accident. This is the first reported case of death from traffic accidents involving shared bikes since China’s bike-sharing boom began.
The company responded by saying it would implement preventative measures to eliminate the use of bicycles by minors.
Just three days before the incident, Shanghai regulators opened two industry management drafts, for ‘bike sharing’ and ‘bike-sharing services,’ to public comment. The document stated that users should be at least 12 years old. China’s road traffic regulations, introduced in 1988, also specify that children under the age of 12 are not allowed to ride on the road.
Ofo said it was sad to hear of the incident and has sent a professional team to Shanghai to investigate the matter.
All bike-sharing firms in China require real-name authentication before users can ride their bikes. However, the manual lock on Ofo bikes allows riders to leave the bike unlocked after using it and end their trip digitally through the app. When a user does walk away from their bike without locking it, anybody is able to hop on and ride away.
Mobike, Ofo’s main competitor, uses digital locks that sync to the mobile app, so trips automatically end when the user manually locks the bike.