Lyft Pulls Ebikes Two Months After Launch in San Francisco
In the wake of two battery fires on its ebikes, Lyft has announced that it is pulling its pink bikes, operating under the name Bay Wheels. One fire happened today, Wednesday, July 31, 2019, four days after the first fire.
In the first fire that took place Saturday, July 27, at Folsom and Second streets, was tweeted by a passerby. The anonymous witness saw a charred pink Lyft ebike and posted a picture with the caption, “I Don’t think I’ll be going on a @lyft @baywheels any time soon. Yikes.”
— Zach Rutta (@zrutta44) July 27, 2019
In the second fire, a passerby saw flames coming from the battery of a Lyft ebike that was docked near Page and Scott streets.
Soon after the second fire was reported, members of the San Francisco City Council called on Lyft to be open about what happened and to take the bikes off the street until the problem is solved. Lyft responded quickly by suspending its program and pulling their ebikes off the street.
In a bit of irony, Lyft had just won a legal battle to exclusively operate ebikes in San Francisco and was only two weeks into its Bay wheels program before having to pull them. In their lawsuit, they argued that they should be the only company allowed to place ebikes on San Francisco’s streets.
These unfortunate events could put that exclusive contract in jeopardy.
Lyft’s first action on July 31, was to block users from reserving bikes with their cellphone app, and their next step is to remove the bikes from the streets and try to solve the problem with the battery.
Battery fires have plagued other electric micromobility share programs in San Francisco when Skip, which operates a fleet of electric scooters temporarily suspended its fleet in San Francisco and Washington D.C. due to a fire in May.
This isn’t the first time Lyft has had to suspend its bike-share program. In April, 2019, Lyft stopped its ebike operations in New York and San Francisco due to injuries associated with brakes that grabbed and locked up.
Lyft is also suspending its ebike operations in other Bay Area cities such as San Jose and Oakland. It’s unknown when the popular ebikes will be on the city streets again.