(Peter Holley / Washington Post) (Photo courtesy of Peter Holley / Washington Post)) The fast-growing electric utility company Lime has…
The fast-growing electric utility company Lime has decided to immediately remove one of its models from every city over the globe after deciding that it could break apart during use.
The decision to suddenly drag the scooters from the streets arrived several weeks after the company said that the same model was interrupted sometimes “when subjected to repeated abuse”.
But on Friday – in response to questions from The Washington Post that the scooters break under the load of normal driving conditions – Lime said it was “watching reports that scooters manufactured by Okai can break and [is] work with the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission and the relevant authorities internationally to get to the bottom of this. “
Okai is a Chinese manufacturer whose products contain scooters. No one could be reached on an email address or phone number listed on its website – or on a phone number provided by Lime.
Lime said it would discontinue all Okai scooters used in their fleets, but company officials said to determine the exact number of scooters affected by the recall was difficult and declined to give an estimate. They also refused to say in how many US cities the current scooter model is in use.
Riders around the country regularly report on social media that they have seen Lime scooters broken in two, often where the baseboard meets the tribe.
“Security is Lime Top Priority,” the company says in a statement. “The majority of Limes fleet is manufactured by other companies, and discontinued Okai scooters are replaced with newer and more advanced scooters considered to be the best in the class of safety.” We do not anticipate any real disturbances in service. “
Mass elimination comes several weeks after Lime – one of the country’s largest scooters – confirmed that it had hauled thousands of scooters away from the streets this summer after discovering a few of them may have had batteries with potential for cats
The scooters were made by the operating company Segway, who drove back to Lime’s claim that a manufacturing defect made the scooters vulnerable to catching fire.
Some Limes employees, riders and other affiliates say they are worried that the company may not have moved fast enough to deal with concerns that the scooters break apart.
An independent contractor who charges Lime scooters overnight, called a juicer, gave copies of e-mails that showed that he warned the company about the problem of scooters breaking as early as September.
Juiceren, a man in the 40’s called “Ted”, asked that his surname not be used for fear of punishment. He said that a few weeks after he started working for Lime in July he began to notice cracks in scooter baseboards and broken scooters on the street. He estimated that he found baseboard cracks in about 20 percent of the scooters he picked up to load. Finally, he raised the question in a long Reddit post that included several pictures of broken scooters.
In an email dated September 8, addressed to Lime Support, Ted Lime warned about four scooters with “cracks on the underside of the deck,” as he noticed “a systematic problem”. He included photos and an identification code for each device. Ted also asked about his charges for charging the devices.
A Lime employee replied to his e-mail but did not respond to the scooter’s shortcomings.
“Thanks for your email and our excuses for the challenge,” the employee wrote to a question of payment. “I have submitted your payment to Finance, please allow four to seven days to post. The payment will be shown as a bonus. We appreciate your patience and understanding.”
The message asked Ted to reply with another reason about security.
“I hope the lime team is taking the problem of the sniper in a serious way,” he wrote. “I’ve released 3 scooters now in the warehouse that broke completely in half and 4 more that had started cracking. Everyone has cracked in the same place.”
“I think this is a design error that starts to surface,” he added. .
Ted said that Lime did not answer. Lime refused to comment on his account.
A California lime mechanic, helping the service units, said the employees in their warehouse that perform daily maintenance on the company’s scooters have identified scooters that are likely to break in the last several months. This worker said that the managers did not aggressively follow these concerns. The mechanic spoke on terms of anonymity and did not want to identify the city where he works for fear of revealing his identity.
The mechanic – who said that employees monitored how long scooters were functional after being deployed on the city streets – said cracks could develop in the baseboard within a few days after a unit was placed on the streets. The mechanic provided video of employees performing tests where Lime scooters are broken after some small hops. Later told the test on the company’s Slack messaging system, another mechanic noted to a manager that the device could snap even when the rider weighs as little as 145 pounds, according to images of the discussions given to the post.
“I would suggest that these are unsafe for general use,” wrote the second mechanic. “It’s just a matter of time before someone is seriously injured … if not here somewhere else.”
In reply to a message on Slack, a boss said that she had “taken notice of” the braking scooters and received knowing that the mechanic would continue to test the problematic scooters and “work with re-enforcement techniques.” The boss wrote that she would forward photos of similar techniques she had “gathered from other markets.”
Lime refused to comment on the mechanic’s statements or the Slack exchange.
A Consumer Product Safety Commission spokesman said the agency did not approve of products before reaching the market. If a “substantial product risk” is reported by consumers and verified, the spokesman said the agency could work with a company to revoke.
“The pattern we see is not an indication that the products do not meet the safety standards for them,” said the spokesman, referring to electric scooters. “It is more that consumers have accidents due to limited familiarity with the use and lack of protective equipment and handle them in congested and distracted environments.”
Since Lime launched their scooters in the spring, two people died while driving on the units, and others have been injured, according to the authorities. When the police found a scooter as Jacoby Stoneking had ridden when he saw blunt head injury during the early hours of September 1, the unit was hit in half, but some other details about the accident are known, according to police and lime officials. The 24-year-old East Dallas man died in a hospital the next day.
Stoneking death resonated with Stephen Williams, 29, a Dallas man who said he was injured when the scooter he drove clutched in two on a busy city street October 10, throw him to the ground chest first. A week later, Williams said he was still in pain.
Williams – a computer analyst at a technology company – thought about details of Stonek’s accident and wondered if there was a pattern. He began to search for examples of broken Lime scooters, eventually logging more than 40 instances on social media, news reports and Reddit, including six that he personally encountered. Williams included these figures in a comprehensive review of e-scooters he gave to the Texas Department of Transportation in Dallas, as well as to Lime.
His judgment: In a city heavily dependent on cars for personal mobility, scooters have great potential to “stifle” the city “together” so that people can travel to nearby districts without creating more traffic. But he said he believes the Lime Okai model is uncertain for him to ride.
“I feel very disappointed, perhaps betrayed by these devices,” said Williams, who says he refuses to ride another limo until the company improves scooter safety. “It’s a disappointment for me because the use of these devices is so profound.”