"Bike Guangzhou (GZ)" is a group of enthusiastic young people who promote social development with an interest in environmental protection. Bike GZ, a non-governmental organization, was founded in 2006 by cyclists of public organizations and universities in the city of Guangzhou in Guangdong Province, China. Their philosophy is to improve the environment for cycling in Guangzhou and involve more people in urban community building.
The first public bike rental spots in Guangzhou opened in 2009, but ended up becoming mere decorations, as they did not permit personal bike parking, prices were high and procedures were complicated. Meanwhile, the number of automobiles sharply increased in Guangzhou, making cycling increasingly dangerous and less of a priority.
How can we make public bicycles more convenient and useful for citizens? Members of Bike GZ, mostly consisting of students having no connections and little funding, had many discussions on this topic and finally decided to make a small investment to encourage citizens and the media to press the government for a policy change.
Their first project was an online vote titled, " Give the Mayor a Bicycle! Show Your Support!" The intent of the activity was to draw the attention of 10,000 citizens to drive the mayor to action. Through posting and publicity efforts, the project was covered by the media and appeared on the top page of portal sites, and the number of hits on the project site totaled 40,000 in the end. Subsequently, the group delivered the opinions received online from citizens to the mayor via his suggestion box.
In January 2010, the members of Bike GZ submitted six opinions for the promotion of cycling to the mayor. These included setting up parking space for personal bicycles at the rent-a-bike spots, allowing citizens to use public bicycles free of charge, and improving the efficiency of public bicycle use through commercialization. In June 2010, an ordinance on public bicycle management, which reflected the opinions submitted by Bike GZ, was promulgated.
Additionally, in order to attract interest in bicycle riding among citizens and to further drive improvement of government services, Bike GZ collected photographs that show incorrect cycling technique, and created a "what's wrong with this picture?" game on the Internet. Users compare two pictures that appear similar and figure out the differences between them. With its inventiveness, Bike GZ was accepted by citizens and became a spokesperson for eco-friendly transportation in Guangzhou.
This information is provided with a grant from Global Greengrants Fund.