College Station City Council to look at ofo bike regulations


By Clay Falls

Published: June 26, 2018

COLLEGE STATION, Tex. (KBTX) – More of those yellow ofo bikes are coming to the Texas A&M campus and College Station community.

This fall ofo plans to bring an additional 3,000 bikes, but there have been challenges since the service started last semester. KBTX has previously reported on the yellow bikes being found, not only on campus, but in places they don't belong, creating clutter and potential hazards

This week the city council is looking at ways to regulate them.

ofo bike parked near house

"They’re supposed to be within a particular perimeter, very close to the university. It can go off into some of the neighboring neighborhoods but not far out. Just the other day I saw one over at Post Oak Mall," said College Station Mayor Karl Mooney.

"I've honestly been using them everyday. I lost my car key about two, three weeks back. So every time I just start walking somewhere and I see one I'll pick it up. Probably a couple times a day honestly," said Christian Woolsey, a College Station resident and Texas A&M student. Woolsey said he probably spends about $30 a month on the service.

It's easy to notice the yellow colored bikes around the area at bike racks and other spots.

"Random places. Looks like people throw them around sometimes for fun, what not. I think they do need to have a little more stern rules," said Woolsey.

City officials say they don't plan on doing enforcement, like ticketing bike riders, but they do want to have some regulations so the bikes don't become a nuisance.

The bikes are unlocked with an app and all have GPS trackers on them. One idea Mayor Mooney suggested is having riders pay a higher fee if they stray from the grid where the bikes are supposed to be.

"We don't want it to stop. But we need to be able to work with the university and with the ofo company that's providing these bicycles so there's a bit more responsibility tied into it," said Mooney. "We need to work in partnership with the university on this. This is going to be a much more responsible way for everyone to be able to continue to utilize the bikes," he said.

"I think that regulations or rules would make just more sense for ofo as a company in general. They're nice enough to let a bunch of people ride their bikes around so you should take care of them," said Joshua King, a College Station resident and Texas A&M student.

The city council will get an update from city staff during the workshop meeting Thursday at 5 P.M.