It is really common that riding a shared bicycle to commute these days in China. It is an eco-friendly and cheap way. However, since the users of shared bicycles increase tremendously, lots of issues popped up. And children riding shared bicycles would be one of them.
On March, 27th, 2017, an 11-year-old boy was dead because of the collision with a bus while he secretly riding a shared bicycle. It aroused heated discussions of who should be responsible for this accident. It cannot be the child since he is not an independent person by the law. Then it was the fight between the boy’s parents and the shared bicycle company. Both of them wanted to shirk responsibility.
That is when the regulation of banning children under 12 years old from riding shared bicycles was introduced. And all of the shared bicycles have to put the sticker saying that.
It is mainly because children that age couldn’t identify if the hazards are about to happen. They cannot be responsible for what they are doing and really lack of safety consciousness. Therefore, it is fair enough for the shared bicycle companies to make terms like this.
When users sign up for the account of shared bicycles App, they are requested to put in their citizen ID which contains the information of their birthday. Children under 12 years old are not allowed signing up for the Apps. However, some of the children, they steal their parents’ phone to secretly unlock the shared bicycles. That could be a potential threat.
The characters of children’s behaviors could be identified as these categories:
- Weak strength: Children under 12 years old are not fully developed. Compared to teenagers and adults, their strength is relatively weak. If something popped up on the road like animals or other moving objects when they are illegal riding shared bicycles or any other bicycles, it would be difficult for them to stop the bicycles and prevent the collisions from happening.
- Lack of concentration: Children under 12 years old have a strong curiosity. They could be attracted to anything that they think is novel when they are riding shared bicycles on the street. Therefore, their concentrations could easily be off from the situation of the front road. It is not safe either.
- Lack of control of their emotions: This could happen to many children riding shared bicycles together. They could talk and laugh while cycling. Sometimes they could get too excited, which can cause a lack of control of the handlebar. Hazards are going to happen if the directions went wrong.
- Lack of responsibility for their own safety: Children at their age sometimes do not know what is dangerous which makes them do a lot of dangerous things. They could try cycling without hands or with one single hand. These kinds of behaviors are threatening their own safety.
Children need to be protected and correctly guided. That requires parents’ positive education and tougher laws and terms from shared bicycle companies. I hope that the future of children & shared bicycles will be brighter and clearer.