Bike-sharing & sustainability

Ofo, Mobike, Obike are 3 China-based bicycle startups that launched their business here in Singapore this year. The sudden appearance of these colourful bikes around the city encapsulates not only the fierce competition among these startups to dominate the SEA market and but also governmental emphasis and support of sustainable transportation in Singapore and around the world.
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The National Cycling Plan lays out the ambitious goal of 190-KM bicycle paths around HDB estates by 2020, and 700KM by 2030. Following suit from other major cities such as Paris and New York, Singapore will build up its infrastructure to encourage taking up cycling, to reduce both air pollution, traffic congestion and promote healthier lifestyle.

In China, more than 200 million rides have been taken since the launch of bike-sharing. If each ride is around 5km, that translates to around 1billion km worth of reduction in carbon footprint, ie. 60,000 tonnes of CO2 reduced. Though this is hardly significant to compensate for their 10 GT of CO2 emissions yearly, it is a good start and more people will gradually pick up the trend as popularity of the system rises.

According to the World Bank, Singapore’s per capita CO2 emission was 9.5 whereas Denmark was 6.3 in 2013. Both have similar sizes in population. Copenhagen currently has around 500km of bike lanes. Till we reach that level, biking as a regular commute will be hard to take off. I look forward to the SG government sticking to its promises in giving us that 700km by 2030. Till then, I’ll stick to cycling at the parks.