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The safety issues surrounding Lyft’s electric bikes

The stereotype of New York City traffic usually focuses on congestion. Cars not moving, but with horns blaring the frustration of weary commuters just trying to get home.

Alternative and seemingly safe forms of transportation launched last summer represented some relief from the gridlock.

Motorized bikes controlled by throttles were particularly common among NYC delivery workers navigating through busy streets. However, the excessive speeds to get from one destination to another created hazardous conditions. After numerous accidents primarily caused by speeding, city officials imposed a ban on any bike traveling faster than 20 miles per hour.

This past August, rules governing motorized bikes were revisited and revised. An alternative was found. Electric bikes with maximum speeds of 18 mph would legally roam the city streets.

Citi Bike, part of Motivate, is recognized as the largest-bike sharing company nationally. The conveyances they rolled out are operated by motors activated through bicycle-style pedaling. Three months into the initiative, Lyft purchased Motivate and announced a rollout of 4,000 by June of 2019.

However, safety concerns arose not long after the launch. Several riders began reporting injuries due to a defect on the cycle. Their stories were consistent with fault focused on the braking system locking up and propelling cyclists to the ground below. Upon hearing the news, Citi Bike pulled their fleet of 1,000 electric bikes out of circulation. The ban also extended to Capital Bikeshare in Washington, D.C., and Ford GoBike in San Francisco, both sister companies owned by Lyft.

Lyft is consulting with its suppliers to identify specific issues. Concurrently, they are developing a new bike model that should be launched soon. In a temporary effort to replace their pedal assisted counterparts, the old-school pedal bicycles will have to do for now.

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