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Ofo admits they ‘got off on the wrong foot’ in Cambridge as more dockless bike companies on the way

More dockless bike companies like Ofo are expected to be on their way to Cambridge as the city gears..

By admin , in Cambridge , at April 18, 2018

More dockless bike companies like Ofo are expected to be on their way to Cambridge as the city gears up to welcome more cycles to the city.

Ofo became the first “dockless” bike company to set up in Cambridge – using an app to give users access to the distinctive yellow bicycles.

Despite fears the bikes would clutter up the city and would be vulnerable to vandalism and dumping, the Cambridge City Joint Area Committee heard yesterday (April 17) they had been a great success.

Ofo's yellow bikes have become a common sight around Cambridge

Now, with more dockless rental companies expected to be on the way to Cambridge, councillors have agreed a code of conduct which will help them regulate the additional bikes.

Cllr Martin Smart said he had met with Ofo bosses who had acknowledged they needed to do better in Cambridge.

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'The best cycling city in the UK'

“We are the best cycling city in the UK,” said Cllr Smart. “And every cycle is, potentially, a car off the road.

“Ofo have acknowledged they got off to a bad start in Cambridge, which I think we all understand.

"They were keen to acknowledge this and make amends and do a better job. Bike hire is in the DNA of Cambridge.”

An abandoned Ofo bike without wheels

Cllr Nichola Harrison said there were probably more Ofo bikes in her ward, Market, than there are in other parts of the city, but that residents did not appear concerned about bikes being vandalised or left in hedges.

Cllr Richard Robertson said he was worried about maintenance of bikes, and said he had seen Ofos without lights. He said proper maintenance of the bikes had to be enforced for companies that were renting out bikes.

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Cycling news

Cllr Noel Kavanagh said: “I think we need to think about the kind of riders who will be using the service. A lot of people will be untrained. There will be more and more amateur cyclists on the road.”

The committee approved the new code of conduct unanimously.

People riding Ofo's bikes on Parker's Piece in Cambridge Picture: Warren Gunn

The code of conduct sets out how bike sharing companies will behave. They must:

  • Provide Cambridgeshire County Council with an Operations Plan for information and future reference purposes. The document will set out how the operator intends to operate the dockless bike sharing scheme and how the Operator will ensure compliance with the Code of Conduct.
  • Launch a trial phase for a minimum of one month. The number of cycles will be limited to 100 for the duration of the trial phase.
  • Seek agreement from the County Council when the number of cycles in the scheme is expanded.
  • Ensure that all cycles used in the scheme are safe to use and that they meet the minimum requirements as set out in the Bikeplus accreditation criteria.
  • Equip bikes with dynamo lights (or similar) at the front and back of the cycle. These dynamo lights shall be of a design that continues to emit a light for a period after the cycle has stopped for safety, particularly at junctions.
  • Make sure cycles used in the scheme shall be checked at least once a week to ensure that they are safe to use and comply with relevant legislation and the Highway Code. The bikes shall be fully serviced at least once per month.
  • Have a person available to deal with any reports regarding faulty or obstructively parked cycles at any time the bike sharing scheme is operating.
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Operators must also acknowledge there is a shortage of cycle parking, particularly in the city centre, and work with public organisations such as Addenbrookes Hospital and Cambridge University and private landowners, including the universities, colleges and business parks to agree as many off-highway cycle hubs as possible.

Under the code of conduct, the operator must seek permission from the County Council before locating any cycle hubs on the public highway and from the City Council for any hubs within public open spaces.

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