SEOUL, Jan. 15 (Korea Bizwire) — With over 13 million cyclists in South Korea, a growing number of abandoned bikes are posing a serious problem for Seoul.
An increasing number of bikes are being abandoned in the South Korean capital, as more people opt for bike sharing systems like Seoul Bike, causing issues such as lack of storage space at bicycle racks and blighting the urban landscape.
In 2014 alone, the Seoul Metropolitan Government collected 13,022 bikes. Since then, the figure has increased steadily, reaching 20,072 bikes in 2016.
Against this background, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced on Monday plans to introduce a bicycle registration system within the city.
With both public and private bike sharing systems gaining popularity, city officials have decided to fund a research and development project for Seoul’s own bicycle registration system.
“Though a similar system is already in effect in some neighborhoods, it is not a requirement as of now. When the registration system takes effect, it could help people find stolen bicycles more easily, and fine cyclists who abandon their bicycles,” a Seoul government official said.
Bicycle registration systems are often operated by assigning a serial number to each bicycle along with a QR code and other types of proof of identification.
With images and features of each bicycle saved in a database, registration systems have proved effective, particularly in fending off theft and abandonment.
In countries with high cyclist populations like Japan and the Netherlands, mandatory bicycle registration systems have been put in place for years, boasting high return rates of stolen bicycles.
The Ministry of the Interior and Safety had in the past introduced plans for similar measure, but efforts to develop a registration system have been put on hold for years due to lack of support and cooperation from both the central and local governments.
In Seoul, non-mandatory registration systems are currently in effect in Gangdong, Nowon, and Yangcheon districts, with a moderate number of cyclists on board with the cause.
In Yangcheon District, which in 2008 became the first to operate a registration program, 28,592 bicycles are currently registered.
Nearly 36,500 bicycles are now registered in Nowon District after the local district office introduced the registration system in 2013.
“The registration system was put in place to create an environment where stolen bicycles can’t be used or sold,” Nowon district officials said.
Hyunsu Yim (email@example.com)