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What will happen to all the discarded ofo bikes around Seattle?

Bicycles of Mobike, ofo and other Chinese bike-sharing services are piled up in the demolition site of a shanty town in Shanghai, China, 15 June 2018. (Imaginechina via AP Images)

As bikeshare company ofo shuts down its operations in Seattle, its bikes remain scattered along many city streets and leads many to wonder what will happen to the discarded bicycles.

Will Seattle face a “bikeshare graveyard” situation so many have heard of in China? Perhaps nothing so dramatic, but it is likely that many of the bright yellow bikes will be sticking around town in one way or another.

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GeekWire recently reported that Dallas, Texas is learning how to deal with piles of ofo bikes left in its city. The bikeshare company is headquartered in China and is pulling out of cities across the United States, including Seattle, while laying off many of its employees. A photo from Dallas has made the rounds, showing a massive pile of ofo bikes at a recycling facility. Bikes that are still in good condition are being donated to Dallas’ CitySquare and Bikes for Tykes.

The company has released this statement regarding its leftover bikes in cities like Seattle:

As we wind down select markets, we remain committed to environmental sustainability and will continue to donate ofo bikes in good working condition to local communities and recycle all bikes when they’re beyond repair or no longer able to use. And since we’re still serving other markets across the US, we are also repurposing assets for those cities.

In short, broken bikes go to the recycling bin, and usable bikes get sent to cities where ofo is still up and running, or they will be donated to local organizations in bulk. The bikeshare company is currently scouting Seattle-area organizations where it can donate its bikes, according to ofo spokesperson Taylor Bennett. Bennett further notes that the process will take some time.

The company is sticking to either recycling or donating in bulk, so people angling to get a free discarded ofo bike are out of luck.


An ofo bike spotted at a trail head in Leavenworth, Wash. (Michael Simeona, KIRO Radio)

Some, however, seem to have already taken ofo bikes out of town as KIRO Radio employee Michael Simeona discovered while taking a hike around Leavenworth, Wash.

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