Vandalism and theft of dockless bikes in Cambridge 'regrettable' says Ofo
Resident sets up Stolen Ofo Bikes in Cambridge Facebook page set up to highlight the number of rental bikes stolen or dumped in city.
The Facebook group, Stolen Ofo Bikes in Cambridge, is encouraging residents to post pictures of dockless bikes that have been dumped in places such as ditches or the River Cam, or have had their trackers removed.
There are about 500 yellow Ofo bikes around the city, which users unlock with a mobile phone app before riding them and parking them for the next person to use.
One resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I see [the bikes without trackers being] cycled around... and people riding them do not seem to care. It is weird.”
Pictures on the website show Ofo bikes strewn along pavements, thrown in bushes and even in rivers. Other pictures show bikes where the tracker has been ripped away.
Ofo said while the theft and vandalism of its dockless bikes was regrettable, it involved only a minor number of bikes.
A spokesman said the vast majority of its fleet was not being misued.
He said: “While there has inevitably been a small amount of misuse of bikes, the vast majority of our fleet is used responsibly by our users for affordable and convenient urban travel.
“We’re hugely encouraged by the take up of our bikes in Cambridge and now have hundreds of bikes across the city.
“It’s regrettable where theft or vandalism occurs, but we would not allow the actions of a minority to ruin the service for the whole community.
“If members of the public spot a misused bike, the best way to report it is by emailing us at email@example.com or through our twitter handle @ofosupport.
“We actively work with the police where issues of theft, privatisation or misuse of Ofo bikes arise.”
The first Ofo bikes arrived in Cambridge in April last year with a trial of 20 bikes. This number jumped to 100 in July 2017 and there were 450 by April of this year.
Cambridge City Council introduced a new code of conduct of bike-share schemes like Ofo in April. Under the voluntary code, companies are expected to ensure their cycles are not left in areas where they would cause an obstruction by providing guidance to users – and penalise those who flout the instructions.