Lyft is removing its electric bikes from multiple cities in the San Francisco bay area after several bikes reportedly caught fire recently in San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Jose.
SiliconValley.com reports that ride-sharing company Lyft made the decision to pull all its electric bikes from the East Bay, San Francisco, and San Jose areas after a number of reports of at least four bike battery packs catching fire. Colin Heyne, a spokesman for the Department of Transportation, stated that city officials were encouraged by the fact that no one was injured as a result of the fires.
Lyft reportedly contacted the city following two of the fires in San Francisco and stated that they would deactivate the e-bikes until they could be removed. “They have no intention of re-introducing the bikes until they know what the problem is and have fixed it,” Heyne said. “We’ll work with them to get a full picture of what they are doing to investigate these batteries and what they will go through for safety testing before they relaunch the bikes.”
A Lyft spokesperson commented on the incidents stating: “We have been proactive and transparent with our city partners and will continue to provide them with up-to-date information as we work to return the e-bikes to service.” Lyft was previously forced to recall e-bikes from the streets over braking issues, now its newest e-bikes have been disabled based on the battery fire issue making them unavailable to rent.
Details about some of the fires have been revealed since the incidents took place, with the fire in San Jose reportedly being a result of vandalism rather than a faulty battery pack, however, the company was unsure if tampering caused issues with the other two fire in San Francisco. Many users are annoyed by the sudden recall, San Francisco resident Parker Day uses the bikes as his primary mode of commuting to work and stated: “I understand the safety concern and I don’t want there to be a battery exploding between my legs when I’m riding the bike around,” Day added that he wished that the bikes were replaced with regular pedal-operated bikes in the meantime: “Just pulling the bikes really impacts the availability and my ability to use them.”