That’s the verdict of an Italian academic who came across a sorry scene in Milan: a heap of the city’s shiny new shared bikes dumped in a canal.
The bicycles appear to belong to Mobike and OFO, two station-less bike-sharing schemes that have been operating in the city for only a couple of months.
Unlike other shared bikes, such as the mustard-coloured BikeMis that have been borrowed by Milanese since 2008, Mobikes and OFOs are “free-floating”: users are free to leave them wherever they want instead of returning them to a dock.
Some cyclists seem to have taken “free-floating” a little too literally.
For Andrea Giuricin, a lecturer on transport and tourism economics at the University of Milano-Bicocca, it speaks to a general lack of respect in Italy.
“The political class is the mirror of the people,” Giuricin wrote when he posted the photo on Facebook.
Bike-sharing relies on two principles, he said: an economic one, that bikes have to be readily available all over the city, but also a civic one – that people won’t destroy them.
“The civic one is what’s missing in Italy,” Giuricin said. “If idiots have thrown this many bikes in the canal in Milan, one of the most civic-minded cities in Italy, it’s no wonder our country is in decline.”
His post got thousands of reactions from other users, some of whom shared their own photos of mislaid bikes.
OFO has said it is “updating its system” to prevent further vandalism. Users who abuse the bikes are supposed to face penalties leading to a ban.
Whatever Italians may think, it isn’t just them: dockless shared bikes have gone astray in practically every country where they’ve been introduced, including China, the UK and Australia.
— Paul Wong (@___pw___) September 19, 2017