NO, IT’S not a work of art. You’re looking at a ‘bicycle graveyard’ on the outskirts of Hangzhou, China.
Dizzying photos taken above the graveyard show thousands of perfectly good bicycles left to rust in an empty field outside of the busy city.
The unloved bikes were seized by police after a popular government bike-sharing program was overrun by private tech companies.
Usually bike-sharing is a boon for eco-conscious cities, but for Hangzhou, population 9 million, the concept created more problems than it solved.
It was smooth riding when the city first launched its $24 million program in 2008 to cut air pollution. Locals would leave the car at home, pick-up their free bike, ride to their destination and leave it at one of 3000 designated drop-off zones.
The program became a big success for the city, winning transport awards and eliminating more than 110,000 tonnes of air pollution, but it all went downhill when private businesses tried to get in on the trend with ‘dockless’ bikes.
Instead of bicycles that had to be returned to a dock, new ‘dockless’ bikes could be chained up anywhere in the city creating a convenient alternative to the government-issued bikes.
Similar to car ride-share apps like GoGet, anyone wanting to take a bike for a ride would need to use a special phone app, QR code or combination to unlock it.
Although the new idea was popular, the app led to thousands of bikes chained to just about anything in the city.
Although the Hangzhou police and government have taken a hard line against these new bikes, local media reports that they keep popping up.
So while these photos may be nice to look at, they’re a stark reminder of how efforts to make a city more environmentally-friendly can go horribly wrong.
By Jesse Matheson
News Corporation Network