WATCH: New yellow oFo sharing bikes pulled from Wensum after vandals throw them in
PUBLISHED: 15:48 10 November 2017 | UPDATED: 10:03 13 November 2017
At least three bikes from a new cycle sharing scheme have been vandalised and thrown in the River Wensum within 10 days of launching in Norwich.
Councillor Mike Stonard has condemned those who trashed the ofo cycles, while the bike firm has said: “We won’t allow vandals to harm a service designed to make life in Norwich easier and more fun.”
Mr Stonard said: “This is wanton vandalism and I hope police find those responsible. These actions do not represent the vast majority of Norwich citizens who are using the bikes responsibly.”
200 of the yellow bikes have already been distributed across the city but numbers were lowered on Tuesday when several bikes were thrown in the river in Bishop Bridge Road.
Nigel Brocks, 61, witnessed marshals depositing what he felt was an excessively large fleet of bikes on the bridge just prior to the incident.
He said: “They seemed popular to begin with and I didn’t have a problem when there were just a few bikes out there - but when they started depositing 10 or more bikes on the bridge, I just didn’t feel that was appropriate.”
Meanwhile, in a separate instance, Vaughan Perks, 56, found an ofo bike in Oak Street, Norwich with its frame split in two.
He said: “The problem is, unlike with these ‘Boris bikes’ in London which are secured, these can be parked freely anywhere. I think you’re putting a lot of trust in people to look after them.
“I was surprised it was free for the first two weeks, because if people were being charged straight away they may behave more responsibly.
“It’s a brilliant concept that promotes health, but unfortunately there are a minority of people who don’t care about that, which is a shame really.”
Matt Sparks, ofo public relations manager, said: “As expected, we’ve had a couple of cases of vandalism in Norwich. We’re excited by the reception we’ve received and will be rolling out more bikes soon to provide an even better service. We’re learning a lot about where the bikes need to be, and in what numbers, to make the scheme as effective as possible.
“Our marshals have rescued several bikes from the river. These were dried off, serviced at a local bike shop and released back into circulation.
“Sadly one other bike was destroyed beyond repair and will be recycled after any useful parts are removed for reuse.”
The vandalism follows an accident involving an oFo bike in Prince of Wales Road this week.