The fast-growing electric scooter company Lime has decided to immediately remove one of its models from every city in the world after finding it could break up during operation.
The decision to suddenly pull the scooters off the road came several weeks after the company said that the same model occasionally erupted "when subjected to repeated abuse".
But on Friday, in response to the Washington Post's questions that the scooters broke apart under normal driving conditions, Lime said it was "a look at the reports Okai could produce [is] to work with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and relevant international agencies to get to the bottom of it. "
Okai is a Chinese manufacturer whose products include scooters. No one can be reached at an e-mail address or telephone number shown on its website – or at any phone number provided by Lime.
Lime said all Okai scooters used in their fleets will be taken out of service. However, the company officials said it was difficult to determine the exact number of scooters affected by the recall, and declined to make an estimate. They also refused to say in how many US cities the scooter model in question is being used.
Drivers across the country regularly report on social media that they've seen Lime Scooter broken in half, often where the baseboard meets the stem.
"Safety is Lime's top priority," the company said in a statement. "The vast majority of Lime's fleet is manufactured by other companies, and decommissioned Okai scooters are being replaced by newer, more advanced scooters that are considered to be class best for safety." T Anticipate real service outages. "
The mass removal took place several weeks after Lime, one of the largest scooter companies in the country, announced that it had pulled thousands of its scooters off the streets this summer after discovering that a small number of them might carry batteries that could catch fire.
These scooters were made by the mobility company Segway, which denied Lime's claim that a manufacturing defect would make the scooters susceptible to fire.
Some Lime employees, drivers and other affiliates say they fear the company has not moved fast enough to address concerns about the scooters breaking up.
An independent contractor who bills Lime Scooter overnight, known as a juicer, sent copies of e-mails stating that he had already warned the company about the problem of breaking scooters in September.
The juicer, a man in his forties named "Ted", asked that his last name not be used for fear of retaliation. He said that a few weeks after working for Lime in July, he noticed cracks in scooter baseboards and broken scooters in the street. He guessed he'd found cracks in the socket board on about 20 percent of the scooters he'd picked up for recharging. Finally, he highlighted the subject in a long Reddit post that contained several photos of broken scooters.
In a September 8 email addressed to Lime's support, Ted Lime warned in front of four scooters with "cracks at the bottom of the deck," which he described as "systematic." It contained photos and an identification code for each device. Ted also asked about his payments for charging the devices.
A Lime employee responded to his e-mail but did not address the shortcomings of the scooter.
"Thank you for your email address and our apology for the challenge," the employee wrote, referring to a question about payment. "I submitted your payment to Finance. Please allow four to seven days for publication. The payment is displayed as a "bonus". Thank you for your patience and understanding. "
The message prompted Ted to respond with another plea to safety.
"I hope the Lime team are serious about the issue of cracking scooter decks," he wrote. "I have now dumped 3 scooters in the warehouse that were completely broken in half, and 4 others that started cracking. All have cracked in the same place. "
"I believe that this is a design flaw that is slowly emerging," he added.
Ted said Lime did not answer. Lime declined to comment on his account.
A Californian lime mechanic servicing the equipment said camp staff who have been servicing the company's scooters on a daily basis have identified scooters that may crack in recent months. This employee said managers did not aggressively pursue these concerns. The mechanic spoke under the condition of anonymity and did not want to identify the city in which he works, for fear of revealing his identity.
The mechanic, who said how long scooters worked after being used on city streets, said that cracks could develop in the plinth board within days of putting a device on the road. The mechanic delivered a video of people doing tests that broke lime scooters after a few small jumps. Later, another mechanic testing the company's Slack messaging system told a manager that the device can shoot even when the driver weighs only 145 pounds, as The Post's discussion shows.
"I would suggest that these are unsafe for public use," wrote the other mechanic. "It's only a matter of time before someone gets seriously injured. , , if not here, elsewhere. "
In response to a message to Slack, a manager said she had "expressed concern" about the broken scooters, and it was said that mechanics should continue to test the problematic scooters and "work on recovery techniques." The manager wrote that she would send photos of similar techniques that she had "collected from other markets".
Lime declined to comment on the mechanic's comments or slack exchange.
A spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission said the agency does not approve products before they reach the market. If a "significant product risk" is reported and verified by consumers, the agency could work with a company to issue a recall.
"The pattern we see is not an indication that the products do not meet safety standards for them," the spokesman said, referring to electric scooters. "It's more that consumers are failing because they are unfamiliar and have no protective equipment and can operate in clogged and distracted environments."
Since the start of Lime this spring, two people have died while driving the equipment, others have been seriously injured, according to authorities. When the police tracked down a scooter that Jacoby Stoneking had bluntly injured in the early hours of September 1, the device was torn in half, though according to police and lime, few details about the accident are known to officials. The 24-year-old man from Dallas East died in a hospital the next day.
Stoneking's death swung with Stephen Williams, 29, a man from Dallas who said he had been injured when the scooter he drove locked into place on October 10 in a busy street in the town and hit him first on the ground threw. A week later, Williams said, he still had pain.
Williams, a tech company data analyst, thought of his accident and recalled details of Stoneking's accident, wondering if there was a pattern. He started looking for examples of broken lime scooters and eventually logged more than 40 instances Social media, in news and on Reddit, including six that he personally met. Williams incorporated these figures into a comprehensive overview of e-scooters that he provided to the Dallas Texas Department of Transportation and Lime.
His conclusion: In a city that relies heavily on cars, scooters have great potential to "assemble" the city, allowing people to drive to the surrounding neighborhoods without generating more traffic. But he thinks the model of Lime Okai is unsafe.
"I'm extremely disappointed, perhaps betrayed, by these devices," says Williams, who says he refuses to drive another lime until the company improves the safety of the scooter. "That's disappointing for me because the utility of these devices is so great."