Maroubra teenager, Joel Jack (13) doesn’t need a new bike.

In fact he’s pretty content with the BMX his uncles gave him for Christmas. But he does like the idea of free bikes just lying around his suburb for anyone to use, whether they’ve got a smartphone or not.

That’s why he makes a point of smashing the autolock off the back of any oBikes he sees. It’s a fleeting act of vandalism that not only provides him with great joy, but is also undermining the entire business model of the mutlinational bike-sharing platfrom.

Launched in Singapore in February 2017, oBike is the world’s first homegrown stationless bicycle-sharing system with operations in several countries. The bikes have a built-in Bluetooth lock and can therefore be left anywhere at the end of a journey, not just at a docking station.

However, Joel – and many other kids his age – knows how to knock the bluetooth lock off. It’s something he will continue to do for fun, because no one, including the police knows what to do about it.

“It’s so good” he says.

“I done it in front of some old couple the other day at the park and they just laughed. I’ve done about 16 today”

A spokesman from oBike has spoken to The Betoota Advocate today, saying that the company never could have predicted the hurdles presented by Australian teenagers like Joel.

“Kids like Joel are quickly trivalising our entire business model” he said.

“We are in 12 other countries currently: Taiwan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore Thailand, Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Sweden”

“…and not one of them has treated our products with this much disrespect. There’s about 450 currently sitting at the bottom of the Yarra river. The rest of them have had their locks knocked off and are being painted over”

“I know we get them made for 3 dollars a pop in Chinese sweatshops, but seriously… What the fuck is wrong with you people”

State governments have refused to comment on this perpetuating fuck up of an idea.



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