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Lyft e-bikes out of service again after 2 bikes catch fire

Published August 1, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO (BRAIN) — Lyft's share-bike division in the San Francisco Bay Area has removed its e-bikes from service after two caught fire within the past week.

The first Bay Wheels e-bike ignited Saturday and the other on Wednesday, when Lyft removed the fleet. The battery appears to be the source. Nobody was injured.

“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,” a Lyft spokesperson told Business Insider in a statement.

Lyft did not return a request from BRAIN to comment on Thursday.

The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency told BRAIN on Thursday it has been in contact with Lyft.

"We encourage Lyft to develop a fleet management system to ensure reliability and mitigate against the risk of crippling service disruption," said a transportation agency spokesperson. "Bike-share is an important part of the San Francisco transportation system. The agency is working to ensure that our residents can consistently rely on the safety and availability of the bike-share system."

This is the latest disruption of Lyft's e-bike program. In April, e-bike service was suspended after some riders in New York complained of excessive front brake force on its Citi Bikes. In June, Lyft unveiled a newly spec'ed Bay Wheels e-bike that featured the Tektro MD-M300 front disc brake, which replaced the Shimano Nexus Inter-M Hub Roller Brake. Lyft continues to use the Nexus Inter-M rear brake.

Lyft did not disclose whether it determined the front brake problems were from equipment malfunction, improper spec', maintenance or operator error. Shimano released a statement to BRAIN three days after the Citi Bikes were pulled, maintaining its brakes were not at fault.

Lyft's new Citi Bike e-bike model is scheduled for release in New York in the fall. It's not known if the latest issues will delay the relaunch.

This Lyft e-bike caught fire Saturday. Photo courtesy Zach Rutta.
Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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