Lyft has put the brakes on its electric bike program in San Francisco, after the batteries on multiple vehicles caught fire.
On Wednesday, a Twitter user posted an image of a bike in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood that appeared to have caught fire. Another bike in San Francisco appears to have caught fire on Saturday as well, the San Francisco Examiner reported.
The ride-sharing company launched its fleet of electric bikes in the Bay Area in recent months after winning a battle with the city over bike share contracts. A Lyft spokeswoman told the Guardian that users had taken more than 100,000 rides on the vehicles since the program began in June and no injuries have been reported.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily making the e-bike fleet unavailable to riders while we investigate and update our battery technology,” she said. “Thanks to our riders for their patience and we look forward to making e-bikes available again soon.”
Battery issues on electric bikes and scooters have caused problems in the past. In 2018, the scooter company Lime had to pull 2,000 vehicles from the streets after a battery caught fire. An electric scooter from Skip caught fire in Washington DC in June, and in December 2018 Skip said multiple devices caught fire in the company’s warehouse.
Lyft did not say when bikes would be available for rental again. The company previously launched electric bike sharing in New York City but pulled them from the streets there in April 2019 after riders reported brake failure. Lyft has not since relaunched the electric bike program in New York, and the Bay Area is the only market affected by the battery issue, the spokeswoman said. The bikes have yet to be rolled out in other cities.
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