Another dot in the blogosphere?

Why we can’t have nice things

Posted on: July 2, 2017

Shared bicycles have been in the local news of late, but not always for good reason.

The current three providers of shared bikes here — mobike, obike, and ofo — face the same types of problems. Most of the problems stem from the inconsiderate behaviour of bike users.

The recent high profile cases included a teenager who threw a bike down a block of flats, a man who did the same, and a group that threw a bike into a canal.

These are probably not signs of an epidemic of reckless behaviour because they are exceptions, not the rule. However, the rule is just as upsetting. I have tried the bike services, and while the bikes are easy to find, I rarely find one that I can use immediately. I often find a damaged or vandalised bike first.

Damaged ofo shared bike.

The photo montage above is of one bike with a missing seat and broken brake cables. I have also seen padlocked drive chains, warped wheels, missing parts, loose fixtures, etc.

oBike app: Reporting damaged bikes.

The bike companies use mobile apps that allow users to make reports. I have lost count of the number I have submitted. I have also not heard from the companies by way of acknowledgement. Perhaps they are too busy collecting and repairing the bikes.

The damaging of shared bikes is an example of why we cannot have nice things. The bikes do not need to be dramatically damaged like being thrown off tall buildings or into monsoon drains. It is the small, every day things done by small, every day people that reflects our collective psyche that frustrates me.

This Singlish phrase sums up my feelings: Why liddat?

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