DOZENS of dockless bikes have been dragged from brooks in Oxford to prevent them causing flooding.

The Environment Agency this week removed 74 bikes –34 of them hire bikes – from Northfield Brook in Blackbird Leys, as well as from Bayswater and Boundary Brooks in Headington, as part of routine maintenance.

READ AGAIN: Oxford dockless bike firms urged to take responsibility

An image shared by the Government body on social media showed a collection of recognisable logos from the trio of Oxford dockless bike operators – Ofo, Pony and Mobike.

An EA spokesperson said: “Blockages, like these bikes, in the river during high river flows can cause the river to back up and potentially breach the banks.

Oxford Mail:

"The bikes are a particular problem due to their shape. Other debris in the river latch onto the bikes to make blockages worse.”

All of the schemes have faced criticism following repeated incidents of users parking the bikes in unsuitable places, as well as cases of them being dumped in the city’s rivers.

READ AGAIN: Dockless bikes dredged from river as pressure mounts on scheme

Clara Vaisse, one of the founders of Oxford-based Pony, said they took the issue ‘incredibly seriously’ and were working to better educate users and immediately report thefts to the police.

Oxford Mail:

She said: “When we notice a GPS signal is unusually low or dropping we check where it last was.

"If it is gone, every time we report it. Because of the colour they are instantly recognisable when vandalised but we actually find the number of thefts is much lower than we anticipated.”

In August, Mobike also claimed that bike loss in Oxford was at an ‘acceptable’ level compared to its other British operations.

Oxford Mail:

Ofo, however, revealed in October it would be scaling back its operating area to the city centre due to the scheme becoming too complicated to manage.

READ AGAIN: End of dockless dream? Ofo retreats to city centre due to 'complications'

Louise Upton, city council board member for a healthy city, said the companies had recently agreed to cap the number of bikes in the city at 750 each.

She added: “The council wants these businesses to be viable and we want to see sufficient numbers of bikes available so that users can be confident they’ll find one nearby.

Oxford Mail:

"Clearly some people are intent on vandalising the bikes to the detriment of genuine bike users.

"Anyone riding one of these with the lock broken off is committing the offence of ‘taking without owner’s consent’.”

The council has no legal powers over dockless bike schemes but the companies have signed up to a voluntary code of conduct.

Ms Upton said: “The council hopes the dockless bike schemes will continue to provide a transport solution that contributes to reducing pollution, offers beneficial exercise opportunities and no longer risks being perceived as a nuisance.”