China’s bike-sharing boom continues to run into a number of obstacles on the way to profitability and global domination. The latest: the death of an 11-year-old child.
Ofo, China’s second biggest shared bike startup, is now being sued by the parents of a Shanghai fourth-grader who died in a traffic accident while riding an Ofo bicycle back in March. They are seeking 8.78 million yuan ($1.3 million) in compensation, according to Sina News.
The child was actually too young to legally ride an Ofo bike, so he stole one by cracking open the mechanical padlock. While that might appear to hurt the parent’s case, they are, in fact, claiming that the company does not do a good enough job keeping youngsters’ hands off their massively-popular and readily-available bikes, asserting that Ofo’s bike locks are clearly inadequate.
And that would seem to be the case considering that the victim and three other underage companions were able to unlock the bikes before riding them the wrong way down a road where the child was run over by a bus turning a corner.
According to Chinese traffic regulations, kids must be at least 12 years old to ride bicycles on public roads. Therefore, police have determined that the victim was primarily at fault for the accident.
This is the first case of its kind as China continues to try to wrap its head around the sharing economy explosion which has been set off across the country over the past year. Ofo itself counts over 60 million active monthly users and recently received more than $700 million in funding from investors including Alibaba.
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