Commentary: Goodbye SG Bike, farewell to bike-sharing? It doesn’t need to be

2 weeks ago 45

SINGAPORE: Was it really surprising to many when local bike-sharing operator SG Bike announced on Mar 21 that it would exit the Singapore market?  

Even without the sweltering heat of recent weeks discouraging us, bike-sharing had not really bounced back to the levels of its peak after the dramatic bust of first-wave operators, oBike, ofo and Mobike.

Singapore’s bike-sharing market is now left with just two operators, local player Anywheel and Chinese firm HelloRide. No doubt, SG Bike’s exit will offer lessons for them and policymakers looking at active mobility.

Is this the beginning of the end for the second wave, or even the final nail in the coffin for bike-sharing here?

The outlook doesn’t have to be grim. Much has changed since the first wave of bike-sharing, from significant expansions of our cycling infrastructure to the Active Mobility Act that set out rules and code of conduct for the sharing of public paths.

These work together to promote cycling on our island. The second wave operators were riding on these developments and existing – even prospective – operators have a more conducive physical and regulatory environment to work in.

Nevertheless, the much hoped-for shake-up that bike-sharing would bring to how we move around the city never materialised simply because cycling never became a habit nor the choice of travel for most.

BUILDING BEHAVIOUR, NOT JUST INFRASTRUCTURE

For behaviours to change and new habits to form, three key components should be present: The capability, the opportunity and the motivation to carry out the behaviour, which psychologist Susan Michie and colleagues developed as the COM-B model.

A lack in any one of the three would be enough to prevent a behaviour and habit from forming. Bike-sharing did not stick because all three were lacking for many. This model also offers a way to think of cultivating behaviour more deliberately, and not just providin...

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