Lime issues recall for a scooter model after reports that they can break apart

Photo by Andrew Liptak / The Verge

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.

Comments

Couldn’t have seen that one coming.

Seen this problem back in May, it’s too common of a pattern.

My concern with the scooters and safety is where do they operate? Its seems potentially dangerous on sidewalks with a lot of pedestrian activity. Yet they aren’t as fast as a bike on the roadway. I’m a big fan of giving people non-auto transportation alternatives, but I’m curious how these are fitting into our current infrastructures.

Current infrastructures don’t really support non-pedestrian or non-auto transportation so if you are using something else, be it a bike, skooter or a horse, you have to do the best you can what what you’ve got to work with and usually that involves sharing with either peds or sharing with vehicles. Neither of which are ideal. It’s not the fault of the mode or the user provided they aren’t breaking any laws.

If the infrastructure is all about cars – surprisingly – nothing else fits in. How else would they claim that there are no alternatives?

Most people on bikes aren’t consistently pedalling above 15mph. On my scooter, more often than not I’m passing bikers on the road. The only time bikes are going faster than me is when I go downhill because my scooter will automatically top out at 20mph while a bike can go considerably faster.

Bike infrastructure benefits scooter riders’ safety and more scooter riders will benefit bike infrastructure.

It depends greatly on what you consider a ‘road for bicycles’.
This would be the typical one, in Germany (note: they often open the doors without looking, which makes for creepy suspense):

Whereas this is how it c(/sh)ould be:

Stay in the right of a bike lane? Go slow on sidewalks where bike lanes don’t exist?

i saw the logo and all i could think was limewire STILL EXSISTS?

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