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Put that bike gathering dust to work for you

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It's already taken the taxi and hotel industries by storm, and the sharing economy now has its sights on disused bikes collecting dust in sheds.

Bicycling Queensland has partnered with the start-up Quipmo to encourage cyclists to rent their bikes and other idle sporting equipment to the public.

The new peer-to-peer trading network has already attracted hundreds of listings.

BQ chief executive Anne Savage said one in four Queensland households was hiding up to three bikes that could be rented to tourists and locals in need of transport.

"Those bikes may go unridden 80 per cent of the time," she told ABC Radio Brisbane.

"A lot of people who are retiring are supplementing their retirement income with sharing.

"It's really changing the nature of our economy and we love it because if we can get more people on bikes, we're living in a less-congested world and everybody is happy."

Quipmo's website says users need to be at least 18 years of age to create an account and list bicycles for rent.

The company also guarantees users signing up in Queensland will be covered by third-party liability insurance covering damage, theft and loss of rented gear.

The platform will run alongside Brisbane's CityCycle scheme, which operates 150 bike rental stations around the city.

Ms Savage said she did not believe ride sharing would affect use of the existing service.

"Our very strong view is that if you normalise sharing and you get more people on bikes in general, you'll probably actually see greater uptake of CityCycle off the back of this."

Council not concerned with competition

Brisbane City Council's public and active transport chairman Adrian Schrinner said council was keen to explore initiatives that tackled congestion and enhanced people's lifestyles.

He said bicycles from its fleet had been used 2.3 million times since the scheme started, and visitors and residents made 20,000 extra trips in January compared to the same period in 2017.

"CityCycles are an increasingly popular lifestyle option for people which provide a clean, green and sustainable alternative to private and public transport in the inner city," Cr Schrinner said in a statement.

"It's about providing bicycles in prominent public locations across the inner city that can be accessed 24/7, which differs greatly from the model proposed under the private rental scheme."

Share economy offers extra income

University of Queensland tourism professor Sara Dolnicar said peer-to-peer trading's effect on traditional tourism businesses was unstoppable.

"Pretty much everything is being shared: power tools, pets, anything you can imagine is being traded on online platforms."

The professor interviewed several people active in the peer-to-peer economy for a book she recently published about changes to accommodation networks.

She said people were motivated to share their homes and belongings for all sorts of reasons, including financial gain during difficult times.

"People who might have difficulties … to have a full-time employment situation have the possibility to earn money.

"A lot of people just say, 'Look, it just earns me a bit of extra money that allows me to enjoy a bit of extra luxury'."

A screen shot of equipment listed for rent on Quipmo's website.

Take responsibility for your own safety

Much of the concern directed at peer-to-peer trading has to do with safety, Professor Dolnicar said.

If you plan to rent a bike through sites like Quipmo, she said ensuring your safety was your own responsibility.

"If I am a commercial bike rental place, then it's clear it's my responsibility that that bike is in good shape," she said.

"As soon as we go into peer-to-peer trading, that's not the case.

"Nobody forces me to make sure my bike is safe if I rent it out."

The professor said both the buyer and seller of shared items needed to do their own risk assessments when making an agreement.

"I think sometimes buyers and sellers are not aware."

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