The fast-growing Lime electric scooter company has decided to immediately remove one of its models from every city across the globe, after finding it could be dissolved during use.
The decision to suddenly pull the scooters out of the streets reached several weeks after the company said the same model occasionally breaks "if repeatedly abused".
But on Friday – answering questions from The Washington Post about the scooters that divide under normal driving conditions – Lime said she "looks at reports that the scooters manufactured by Okai can break and [is] working in collaboration with the US Consumer Product Safety Commission. and the competent authorities at international level to reach the bottom of this. "
Okai is a Chinese manufacturer whose products include scooters. Nobody could reach an email address or a phone number on his website – or a phone number provided by Lime.
Lime said it would decommission all of the Okai scooters used in its fleets, but company officials said the determination of the exact number of scooters affected by the recall was difficult and failed to provide an estimate. They also declined to state in how many US cities the scooter model under consideration is being used.
Riders across the country report regularly on social media that they have seen Lime scooters broken into two, often where the baseboard meets the stem.
"Security is Lime's top priority," the company said in a statement. "The overwhelming majority of the Lime fleet is manufactured by other companies, and decommissioned Okai scooters are being replaced by newer, more sophisticated scooters that are considered the best in safety class." "T expect a break from the actual service."
The massive expulsion comes several weeks after Lime, one of the nation's largest scooter companies, recognized that it had pulled thousands of scooters out of the streets this summer after discovering that a small number of them could wear batteries with a fire hazard .
These scooters were built by the Segway Mobility Company, which pushed behind Lime's claims that a manufacturing defect made the scooter vulnerable to fire arrest.
Some Lime employees, riders and other affiliated people say they are worried that the company may not have moved quickly enough to cope with concerns about the scooter being broken.
An independent contractor charging Lime buses overnight, known as a juicer, provided copies of emails that showed he had warned the company of the problem of the scooter being broken already in September.
The juicer, a 40-year-old man named "Ted," asked not to use his surname from the fear of punishment. He said that a few weeks after he started working for Lime in July, he began to observe cracks in boards and scooters on the street. He estimated he found cracks in about 20% of the scooters he took to charge. Finally, he highlighted the issue at a long Reddit site that included many photos of broken scooters.
In an email dated September 8 and addressed to Lime support, Ted warned Lime about four scooters with "cracks in the underside of the deck", which he described as a "systematic issue". It included photos and a passcode for each device. Ted also asked for his payments to recharge the devices.
A limerine employee replied to his email, but did not deal with scooter defects.
"Thank you for your email and sorry for the challenge," writes the employee, referring to a question about payment. "I have submitted your payment to Finance, please allow it to be published within four to seven days." Payment will appear as a "bonus." We appreciate your patience and understanding.
The message prompted Ted to answer another reason for security.
"I hope the Lime team will seriously address the issue of the scooter deck," he wrote. "I've lost 3 scooters now in the warehouse that was completely cracked in half, and 4 more were cracked, all of them cracked in the same place."
"I think this is a design flaw that is beginning to show up," he added.
Ten said that Lyma did not answer. The bagger refused to comment on his account.
A California popping engineer in California, who helped service the appliances, said workers in his warehouse carrying out daily maintenance on the company's scooters have identified scooters that have been in danger of cracking in recent months. This official stated that the directors did not aggressively follow these concerns. The engineer spoke on condition of anonymity and did not want to locate the city where he works for fear of revealing his identity.
The engineer – who said workers watched how long the scooters stayed functional after their expansion into the streets of the city – said the cracks could grow on the baseboard within a few days of putting a device on the streets. The engineer provided videos from test-experienced employees in which Lime scooters break after a few little hops. Later, referring to testing in the company's Slack Message System, another engineer told a manager that the device could break even when the rider weighs just 145 pounds, according to the pictures of the discussions that were given to The Post.
"I would suggest that these are not safe for public use," says the other engineer. "It's only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured … if not here, somewhere else."
Responding to a message about Slack, a manager said he "expressed concerns" about the scooters and said engineers should continue to test the problem scooters and "work on review techniques". The director wrote that he would pass pictures of similar techniques "he had gathered from other markets".
The lime refused to comment on the engineer's statements or the exchange of relaxation.
A spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission said the agency did not approve products before they reached the market. If a consumer reports a "substantial risk to the product" and verifies, the spokesman said, the agency could work with a company to issue a revocation.
"The standard we see is not indicative of products that do not meet safety standards for them," said the spokesman, referring to electric scooters. "It's more that consumers are unhappy because of their limited familiarity with use and the lack of protective equipment and their operation in contexts and fragmented environments."
Since Lime started the scooters this spring, two people died while driving the appliances and others were seriously injured, according to authorities. When the police found a scooter that Jacob Pelling had riding when suffering head injuries with blunt force in the early hours of September 1, the device was cut in half, although a few other details of the accident are known, according to the Police and the Limestone officials. 24-year-old East Dallas died in hospital the following day.
Stoneking's death responded to Stephen Williams, 29, a Dallas man who said he was injured when the scooter he led broke in two on a busy street on October 10, dropping him on the chest. A week later, Williams said, still suffering.
Studying his accident, Williams – a data analyst at a technology company – remembered the details of the Stoneking accident and wondered if there was a standard. He started looking for examples of broken Lime scooters, eventually recording more than 40 cases social media, newsletters and Reddit, including six that he personally faced. Williams included these numbers in a broad review of the electronic scooters he offered to the Texas Department of Transportation at Dallas as well as Lime.
His verdict: In a city that is heavily dependent on cars for personal mobility, scooters have great potential to "stick" the city behind, allowing people to travel to neighboring neighborhoods without generating more traffic. But, he said, he believes the Lime Okai model is unsafe to drive it.
"I feel extremely disappointed, perhaps betrayed, by these devices," said Williams, who says he refuses to lead another lime until the company improves the safety of the scooter. "This is disappointing for me because the utility of these devices is so deep."