FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Down a sidewalk, against traffic, a rider on a bike from bike share company ofo, pedaled his way through downtown Fort Worth Monday.
On the other side of the Trinity River, in the parking lot of an empty commercial building, another of the bright yellow bikes was neatly arranged next to three green ones from LimeBike.
CBS11 also found them at a Walmart, a bus stop, in a front yard of a house and a courtyard of an apartment complex.
The bike sharing companies aren’t legally allowed to operate in Fort Worth, but the bicycles are back just the same.
Bike share companies haven’t been welcome in the city since last year. Fort Worth anticipated potential problems with the business, which allows riders to rent a bike with an app, then leave it at their destination until someone else needs it.
Private businesses can’t use the public right of way in the city without a permit. The Fort Worth Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Commission is studying the possibility of a pilot program, but it’s still months away, meaning any bikes in the city aren’t legally allowed to operate there.
It isn’t unusual to find one or two, but people working closely on the issue in Fort Worth were surprised to hear several bikes were parked together in a location, similar to staged groupings that have become common in Dallas.
The companies told us they’re not distributing in Fort Worth, but riders pedal there anyway, or bring bikes over on transit trains.
“Any bikes that have been ridden or are taken to Fort Worth are picked up and relocated by our Dallas local team, using the bikes’ GPS mapping technology,” wrote Mary Caroline Pruitt with LimeBike.
A representative from ofo said a recent photo shoot in the area, might explain the arranged bikes on South Sylvania Avenue.
In a statement, Fort Worth said it’s working closely with operators to remove bikes when they come into the city, and also on possible solutions that would allow companies to operate in the city legally.