Taiwan questions safety and insurance of bike-sharing system

Illegal parking and insurance issues draw scrutiny towards foreign bicycle-sharing firm

Taiwan questions safety and insurance of bike-sharing system

Insurance News

By Gabriel Olano

A Taiwanese official has raised questions a Singapore-based bike-sharing system, due – in part – to the liability insurance being provided by mainland Chinese companies.

Taipei City councillor Chen Chien-ming expressed worry that the rights of users of the bike-sharing service may not be adequately protected, due to the involvement of mainland Chinese firms in the safety and insurance aspects of oBike. While cross-Strait relations between the two governments have improved in recent years, there still remains some tension.

oBike, which launched in Taiwan in April, does not use docking stations. It also operates in 10 other cities and countries.

Taipei Consumer Services Center Director Ho Hsiu-lan said oBike has product liability insurance, albeit from a mainland Chinese company. In theory, if users are injured due to product defects, they can claim compensation from oBike’s insurer. However, the company does not have user or third-party accident insurance.

Local government units in Taiwan have also complained about oBikes taking up public bicycle and motorcycle parking spaces. Many bikes have also been abandoned in rivers, coastal areas, and mountain trails.

“oBikes are being left everywhere, so I am very doubtful that the bikes are equipped with a tracking device so the company can locate them,” Chen was quoted as saying in the Taipei Times. “We have found them abandoned by the sea and in the mountains because the company did not retrieve them.”

Chen added that the New Taipei City Government has towed 5,539 oBikes, and he urged the city government to deal with the issue.

Taipei Mayor Ko Wen-je has said that the city is drawing up plans to improve its bike management, and new rules are expected to roll out by January 2018.

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