Electric scooter giant lime launches global recall of one of its models amid fears the scooters can break apart

Electric scooter giant lime launches global recall of one of its models amid fears the scooters can break apart

(Peter Holley / The Washington Post) ((Photo courtesy of Peter Holley / The Washington Post))

The fast-growing electronic scooter company Lime has decided to remove one of the company's brands from every city across the globe.

The decision to suddenly pull the scooters out of the streets arrived several weeks after the company.

But on Friday – In response to questions from The Washington Post about the scooters breaking apart under the strains of normal riding conditions – Lime said it was "Okay. Consumer Product Safety Commission and the relevant authorities to get to the bottom of this. "

Okai is a Chinese manufacturer that makes scooters and other products. Nobody could be provided by Lime.

Lime said it would decommission all Okay scooters in use across its fleets, but company officials said it was difficult to determine the exact number of scooters affected by the recall and declined to provide an estimate. They are thus declined to reveal how many. cities possess the devices.

Lime scooters broken in half, often where the baseboard meets the stem.

"Safety is Lime's highest priority," the company said in a statement. "The vast majority of Lime's fleet is manufactured by other companies and decommissioned." Okay scooters are being replaced with newer, more advanced scooters. We do not anticipate any real service disruptions. "

The mass removal arrives several weeks after Lime – one of the nation's largest scooter companies – it has been announced that it has thousands of scooters.

Those scooters were made by the mobility company Segway, which pushed back against Lime's claims that the scooters were vulnerable to catching fire.

Some Lime employees, riders and other affiliated people say they are not getting away from the scooters breaking apart.

A Lime independent contractor who charges the scooters overnight, known as a juicer, has issued copies of emails showing the company about the problem of scooters breaking as early as September.

The juicer, a man in his 40s named "Ted," asked his name. He said a few weeks after he began working for Lime in July, he began noticing cracks in the baseboards and broken limes on the street. He estimated he found baseboard cracks in about 20 percent of the scooter he picked up to charge. Eventually, he highlighted the issue in a lengthy Reddit post that included multiple photos of broken scooters.

In an email dated Sept. 8, addressed to Lime support, Ted warned Lime about four scooters with cracks on the underside of the deck, which he labeled a definite issue. Ted asked about his payments for recharging the devices.

A Lime employee responded to his email, but did not address the deficient scooters.

"Thanks for your email and our apologies for the challenge," the employee wrote, referencing a separate question about payment. "I have submitted your payment to finance; please allow four to seven days to post. The payment will show as a 'bonus'. We appreciate your patience and understanding. "

The message prompted Ted to respond with another plea for safety.

"I hope the Lime team takes the issue of the cracking scooter decks seriously," he wrote. "I have dropped off 3 scooters now at the warehouse that were cracked completely in half, and 4 more that had started to crack. All of them have cracked in the same location. "

"I believe this is a design flaw that is beginning to surface," he added.

Ted said Lime never responded. Lime declined to comment on his account.

A Lime Mechanic, California, California, California, California, California. This employee did not aggressively follow up on these concerns. The mechanic spoke of the condition of anonymity and did not want to identify the city.

Cracks could develop in the baseboard within the devices being placed on the streets. The mechanic video showing Lime scooters breaking in a few small hops. Later, the slack messaging system, another mechanic noted that it can snap even when the weighs as little as 145 pounds, according to the Post.

"I would suggest that these are unsafe for public use," the other mechanic wrote. "It's just a matter of time before someone is severely injured. , , if not here, somewhere else. "

Responding to a Slack, a manager said she had "raised concerns" about the breaking scooters and had said that the mechanics should continue testing the problematic scooters and "work on re-enforcement techniques." The manager wrote that she wants forward photos of similar techniques that she has "gathered from other markets."

Lime declined to comment on the mechanics statements or the slack exchange.

A Consumer Products Safety Commission spokesman said the agency does not pre-market products before they reach the marketplace. If a "substantial product hazard" has been reported by consumers and verified, the spokesman said,

"The pattern we are seeing is not indicative of the products not meeting the safety standards for them," the spokesman said, referring to electric scooters. "It's more that consumers are having mishaps due to limited familiarity of their use and a lack of protective equipment and operating in congested and distracted environments."

Since Lime launched its scooters this spring, two people have been badly injured, according to authorities. Jacoby Stoneking had been riding in the early morning hours of Sept. 1, the device was snapped in half, but few other details about the accident are known, according to police and lime officials , The 24-year-old Dallas man died in a hospital the next day.


(Photo courtesy of Stephen Williams) ((Photo courtesy of Stephen Williams))

Stoneking's death resonates with Stephen Williams, 29, a Dallas man who said he was injured in the midst of a street on Oct. 10, throwing him on the ground chest-first. A week later, Williams said, his ankle, knee, back and neck were still in pain.

Contemplating his accident, Williams – who works as a data analyst at a technology company – remembered the details surrounding Stoneking's accident and began to wonder if there was a pattern. He began searching for examples of broken lime scooters, eventually logging more than 40 instances on social media, in news reports and on Reddit, including six that he personally encountered. Williams included those numbers in a wide-ranging review of e-scooters that he provided to the Dallas Texas Department of Transportation as well as Lime officials.

His verdict: In a city heavily reliant on cars for personal mobility, scooters have great potential to "stitch" the city "back together," allowing people to travel to nearby neighborhoods without creating more traffic. But, he said, the Lime Okai model is too unsafe for him to ride.

"I feel extremely disappointed, perhaps betrayed, by these devices," said Williams, who refuses to ride another lime until the company improves scooter safety. "That's disappointing to me because the utility of these devices is so profound."

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