OFO’s yellow dockless bikes are becoming less visible on Oxford’s streets as the Chinese bike company is experiencing financial difficulties.

Last week it emerged that the firm was pulling out of London after withdrawing from other cities including Oxford, Norwich and Sheffield because it was on the brink of bankruptcy.

Ofo launched in Oxford in August 2017 but just over a year later it scaled back its operation saying it would only serve the city centre and surrounding area.

The company was one of several Chinese cycle hire start-ups allowing riders to unlock GPS-enabled bikes with their smartphone, and drop them off anywhere without having to park them at a dock.

But some of the company’s bikes ended up getting dumped in parks, rivers and lakes.

One was hauled out of Hinksey Lake on New Year’s Day by members of Oxford British Sub Aqua-Club.

Simon Hunt, a member of Oxford-based cycle campaign group Cyclox, said: “I tried to get in touch with one of Ofo’s senior managers last week to report an abandoned bike and the email bounced back.

“Ofo is considerably less active than it used to be in Oxford and may well have left the city.

“It’s a shame that the model has not worked well enough for them.

“Too many of its bikes were vandalised and then not cleared up quickly enough.

“If it had clearly displayed a phone number on each bike for the operations department that would have made a big difference.”

Three dockless bike companies have been operating in Oxford - Ofo, Pony and Mobike.

In December the Environment Agency pulled 74 bikes out of Northfield Brook in Blackbird Leys and 34 of them were hire bikes.

According to China Entrepreneur Magazine, Ofo has dissolved its international division, which includes the UK operation, and offered its 50 remaining employees the option to leave or take a 50 per cent pay cut and transfer to the Chinese business.

At its peak, Ofo had around 6,000 bikes across London, Norwich, Sheffield, Oxford and Cambridge.

Of 14 local authorities where Ofo was operating, it is now thought to have withdrawn entirely from seven.

Nearly all of its UK staff are understood to have been made redundant.

The firm had up to 60 staff in the UK at its peak but later scaled back its workforce to just a handful.

Last spring, Ofo and Mobike embarked on aggressive expansion plans in London and Manchester.

Mr Hunt said he was pleased that Pony and Mobike were still operating in Oxford.

No-one from Ofo’s UK division has commented.