Electric scooter company Lime is recalling an unspecified number of its vehicles after reports that they might break apart after “repeated abuse,” according to The Washington Post. The recall comes weeks after the company recalled some of its Segway Ninebot scooters after concerns over battery fires.
The Washington Post says that scooters manufactured by Chinese company Okai could break while in use, and that Lime will recall them from every city that they’re deployed in. Lime says that those models will be decommissioned, but did not tell the Post how many units are affected, or in which cities they’re being used in. The recall follows Lime’s disclosure about the Segway Ninebot models, in which the company notified users of issues with the Okai models, saying that “it’s possible for Okai baseboards to crack or break if ridden off a curb at high speed.” At the time it noted that it was investigating the issue, and appears to have been concerned enough to issue the recall. Bird indicated that it does not utilize this particular model in its own fleet.
The Post notes that the recall comes after numerous internal concerns about how quickly the company has moved to address safety, citing e-mails from independent contractors and employees. One contractor, tasked with picking up and charging the vehicles warned Lime in early September of cracks in the underside of the deck. The company thanked him for the alert and provided a bonus, but didn’t respond to his comment that he felt that it was a design flaw. He eventually posted his findings to Reddit. The Post also spoke with a mechanic also noted that his employees have highlighted issues as well, and that Lime “managers did not aggressively follow up on those concerns.”
Numerous users on Instagram have posted pictures of broken Lime scooters, noting that “the deck seems to be a common failure point,” although it’s not immediately clear if all of the scooters in the images are manufactured by Okai.
Commenters on the Reddit thread noted that users can frequently abuse the scooters, while Lime’s mechanics noted that they had reported that “cracks could develop in the baseboard within days of the devices being placed on streets,” sometimes incurring damage after a “few small hops.”
A Lime spokesperson told the Post that “vast majority of Lime’s fleet is manufactured by other companies,” and that the affected models are being “replaced with newer, more advanced scooters considered best in class for safety,” but did not comment on the reports from employees and contractors. We’ve reached out to Lime (as well as Bird) for comment, and will update this post if we hear back.
Following the recall of the Segway Ninebot scooters, Lime launched a $3 million program called Respect the Ride, which is designed to educate riders on safe riding practices, distribute helmets, and improve maintenance. It says that it will distribute 250,000 free helmets in the next six months around the world, and that it will partner with city officials to help improve safety. Now that the scooter craze is officially over a year old, other companies are beginning to pay more attention to safety — Bird CEO Travis VanderZanden recently told The Verge that his company has begun to test a new, more rugged scooter that will be more durable and will stand up their on-demand use.
Update November 10, 3:00 PM ET: updated to reflect comment from Bird saying that it does not use the affected Okai model in its fleet.