Just as on-demand electric scooters are picking up speed in Europe, one of the most ambitious startups in the scooter market has halted operations in one country after its e-scooters began to stall midway, stripping and injuring to the passengers.
Lime, the Uber-backed motorcycle and scooter rental company that is reportedly raising funds at a valuation of between $ 2 billion and $ 3 billion, has recalled its entire fleet of scooters in Switzerland, in cities Basel and Zurich, to carry out security checks after various reports. of people who were injured after their scooters braked hard while in use.
The company sent an advisory to users, presented in the screenshots below, in German, with the full text translated below that, noting that it is currently investigating whether the malfunction is due to a software glitch, where an update from the software causes a scooter. Unintentionally restarting while traveling, which activates the anti-theft immobilization system.
To compensate for the interruption in service, it offers users a 15-minute credit that they can use when service is restored, but does not give an indication of when that might be.
The text says the following:
By now, you have probably heard from the media that we have brought all of the Lime scooters to our workshops and that we have temporarily stopped service.
We have been reported of cases where users report that during their travels, sudden braking maneuvers are performed, leading to crashes. The safety of our users is our top priority and that is why at the beginning of this week we decided to remove all devices and do a thorough safety and quality control.
The investigation is ongoing. After the first few tips, we are currently examining whether a software update could be causing a restart while traveling, activating the theft protection. We have already taken steps to ensure this never happens again. However, we are testing each device thoroughly to make sure there are no software or hardware issues.
We are optimistic that we will soon be operating on the streets of Zurich and Basel again and we apologize for the interruption in service. To compensate, we offer you a free 15 minute ride with the code “LIME-ON-SCHWEIZ”. As soon as we come back again.
We will keep you informed about the developments. Thanks for your understanding.
With lime green regards.
Your Lime Switzerland team
We have contacted Lime for more details and will update this post as we get more information.
The service shutdown comes after reports in recent months detail how riders have been injured after their Lime scooters abruptly stopped. In November, a doctor broke his elbow after his vehicle’s speedometer failed, the brakes came on, and he was thrown into the air. (Fortunately, this happened in front of the hospital, where he also worked.)
Another cyclist dislocated his shoulder after falling on the handlebars of his Lime scooter while traveling at about 25 km / h (approximately 15 mph). A third suffered cuts and bruises in an incident similar to the other two: hard braking while traveling.
Lime launched e-scooter services in several cities in Europe last summer, starting in Paris with aggressive ambitions to expand its business to 25 cities in Europe by the end of 2018.
In Switzerland, the lime has (had?) Around 550 scooters in operation. But overall, Lime hasn’t met its broader regional goal. It is currently live in 18 cities in Europe, and not all of them have electric scooters.
In the UK, for example, Lime has had a limited rollout of electric bikes and there are no plans at this time to add scooters.
Part of the reason in the UK is that that particular mode of transport faces some regulatory hurdles – they are technically classified as vehicles and therefore illegal to drive without licenses on public roads. On the other hand, there are many people who are selling and in use by individuals who may or may not have the correct credentials to use them, and the regulations can be revised.
Bird, one of Lime’s biggest competitors, launched e-scooters in London last year, but it has been a very limited rollout, on private land on the Olympic campus.
In other markets, Lime originally launched scooters, but has since had to stop business. In December, Lime, along with rivals Wind and Voi, was ordered to halt electric scooter operations in Madrid, after the city determined they posed a safety hazard after a series of accidents, including one death, amid other security concerns.
We will update this post as we learn more. In general, however, the development does not paint a very positive image.
Even before we saw a massive launch of actual services, the e-scooter market in Europe is already full of hopeful players. Alongside Lime and Bird flying in from the US, there are also local startups like Taxify, Dott, Wind and Voi, as well as transportation giants like VW, all entering the fray.
All good and well I guess, let the best man win and all that, but seeing that early versions of these services have been banned by the authorities or stopped by the companies themselves due to accidents makes one wonder if safety he is putting himself in danger on behalf of the aggressive ones. Competence in new and unexplored areas of “disruptive” technology.