Since last month, cyclists in São Paulo have been able to make use of a new, innovative service: a bike-sharing app that doesn’t rely on traditional bicycle docks. Everything is operated through the use of a smartphone. Already a hit in China, this kind of service is new to Brazil – and, apparently, we aren’t ready for it. At least, that’s the conclusion of BuzzFeed Brazil, which, on August 21, published the post “11 images showing why Brazilians might not be prepared for shared bikes.”
The piece compiled social media entries depicting bicycles that belong to Yellow, the new bike-sharing startup launched in August, which has been vandalized, broken or stolen. As the article went viral, several Twitter and Facebook users noticed that the tone of the piece suggested our country was not good enough to have such an “advanced” mode of transportation. São Paulo has two bike-sharing services based on docking stations (both started between 2012 and 2013). Yellow is the first to allow cyclists to park their bicycle anywhere.
Bruno Ferrari, a columnist at news radio CBN, made the important point that issues with dockless bike-sharing systems are not exclusive to Brazil. Several other cities around the world saw shared bikes being vandalized, stolen, broken or simply thrown into rivers. In the capital of the United States, The Washington Post reported on July 1 that “theft and destruction of dockless bikes [is] a growing problem.”