Bike sharing cannot be viewed as main mode of transport

The idea behind bike sharing is noble but idealistic.

It is hoped that in building up a large enough resource-sharing community for bicycles, the environment will be cleaner as the public slowly but surely embraces cycling to work and to play, becoming less reliant on carbon-emitting motor vehicles in the process.

Users are also assumed to be responsible people who will take care of the bicycles and park them at designated areas, as instructed.

However, too many reported cases of abusive use and indiscriminate parking of the shared bikes have cast a negative light on its original intent, which is, basically, using a shared item and not abusing it, so that the next user would be able to use it.

It is also hoped that if bike sharing increases in popularity, over time, there will be less reliance on cars as a primary mode of transport.

But the reality is that this will not happen any time soon or even in the near future in Singapore.

Families with young children or the elderly are not likely to be avid users of bike-sharing apps for their transport needs. The reason is obvious: There are safety concerns and a car are more practical, since it can transport more people.

Likewise, not all working adults are convinced that riding a bicycle to work is the way to go.

Unlike temperate countries with low humidity and a cool climate, Singapore's equatorial climate and high humidity makes cycling more suited as a recreational activity over the weekend or as a means to get some exercise after work rather than as a primary mode of transport to the work place.

Realistically, how many office or factory buildings have ample shower facilities for people to freshen up after cycling to their workplace from home?

With Singapore's small size and well-connected road and MRT network, renting a bicycle for leisure and weekend exercise is fine, but to hope that it will eventually replace cars as a main form of transport is simply naive.

Gabriel Cheng Kian Tiong