Be better than the couple who threw obikes into the drain

Last week, a video showing a couple dumping two oBike bicycles into a drain went viral.

The person who took that video wrote to Stomp to describe in details what happened. Apparently, it happened when this person was driving. When he stopped at a traffic light, he saw a guy throw an oBike bicycle into the drain. That’s when he started recording the video that caught the man throwing another oBike into the drain. Not long after that, a woman also threw an oBike bicycle into the same drain.

We get it. It can get irritating if some inconsiderate person just leave a bicycle in the middle of the pavement. It looks untidy. It obstructs your path. It’s inconvenient. But even then, did the couple have to dump the bicycles into the drain? Over-reaction much?

After the video went viral, the couple in the video must have realised that they are in some kind of trouble. Because they have turned themselves in to the police and are now currently “assisting with investigations”. Well, I think what “assisting with investigations” means in police talk is that the couple will likely be charged quite soon. And if this couple is charged and convicted, they could be imprisoned for up to one year or fined or both.

This incident is a timely reminder for us.

oBike, Ofo, and all those bicycle sharing services are great. They encourage people to cycle more and move us towards a car-lite society. However, the hordes of bicycles become a problem when people anyhow park them after they are done with them.

We understand. It’s easy and convenient to just leave the bicycles anywhere, even if it’s right in the middle of the pavement, and then just walk away. But that causes problems for other people. We really shouldn’t make things convenient for ourselves by inconveniencing others.

And typical of Singapore, the government has stepped in. The LTA has marked yellow boxes as designated parking zones for bicycles. The LTA has also signed an agreement with bicycle-sharing companies here, as well as the National Parks Board (NParks) and all 16 town councils, to encourage the responsible use of shared bikes in public spaces such as public paths and parks.

Under the agreement, those companies will have to adopt geo-fencing technology. This will let the companies know whether their bicycles have been parked within those yellow boxes, as well as take measures to prevent indiscriminate parking.

But… should we really have to depend on the government to step in to regulate all behaviour? Can’t we all just be a little bit more… civic-minded? And even if there are a few incorrigible black sheep, do we really need the government to step in? Can’t we sort it out ourselves? Like… if we came across bicycles parked indiscriminately, instead of dumping the bicycles into the drains, can’t we just help to move them to a place that doesn’t obstruct other people?

So. Next time when you see a bicycle parked in the middle of the pavement, don’t dump them into the drain. Do the right thing. Move it to a place where it doesn’t obstruct other people. We all can play our part in making Singapore a more gracious, civic-minded society.

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