Lime hosts a shared transportation program in 10 countries and more than 85 US cities. Users can download the Lime app, which allows them to locate a scooter on the map interface. From there, the user scans a code on their phone onto the parked device and can ride for as little or long as they want.
The device can be conveniently parked anywhere which makes it useful in large cities with limited parking. However, with the use of ease comes an unspoken reliance upon the user’s safety. Two major recalls were issued by Lime in 2018 for defects that put users at risk of injury.
In each recall instance, the company immediately removed the compromised scooters from every city it was parked in.
Lime Scooters Catching Fire
Last summer, Lime recalled over 2,000 of its scooters after reports came in the lithium batteries used to power it were found to spontaneously catch fire. Those scooters had been manufactured by mobility company Segway.
After the incidents of fire, Lime and Segway were emblazoned in a battle of responsibility for the problem. Segway denied Lime’s claim of a manufacturing defect that made them susceptible to catching fire.
In order for Lime scooters to function throughout the day, they are powered by a Lithium Ion battery that is charged overnight. The company recalled over 2,000 scooters after reports came in they were spontaneously catching fire.
This led Lime to issue a statement the batteries were fire-prone due to a welding issue that causes them to short-circuit.
However, Segway intervened and indicated their products undergo rigorous battery testing. “It’s highly unlikely to cause a battery to short circuit,” the company said.
“Over the years we have sold multiple millions of Segway’s self balancing vehicles and a million kickscooters, all of which used the same battery technology without such incidents.”
Lime responded by saying it stands by its “decision and rationale.” Tony Ho is Segway’s vice president of global business development. He said in a Washington Post article the company reached out to all of its shared scooter partners and found Lime is the only operation that had fire incidents.
He believes the reason for batteries in Lime scooters exploding is improper maintenance and charging, not to mention possible rider abuse. Scooters being charged with the wrong equipment could damage the batteries, such as smoldering or potentially catching fire.
Ho indicated the importance of commercial operations properly training their employees or independent contractors in maintenance and safety practices.
In November, Lime announced it would be charging its Segway Ninebot scooters in specific Lime scooter storage facilities and would “no longer be available to Juicers for after hours charging.”
Lime Scooters Breaking
A few months after the battery incident, Lime received reports of its scooters breaking in half. This prompted a second recall for Lime within a year. The scooters involved in the recall were manufactured by Okai, based out of China.
Another article in The Washington Post outlined the occurrence of the scooters breaking and conducted an interview with an anonymous Lime independent contractor. The contractor, known as a “juicer” that charges the scooters overnight, was aware of the problem very early on.
He noticed cracks in the scooters early on in his late-night charging routes. He found cracks in the baseboard of about 20 percent of the scooters. On a handful of accounts, he contacted Lime with his concerns but the company did not specifically address them.
Another employee, a mechanic who services scooters for the company, had the same concerns. He and other employees found the baseboards would crack after a handful of days. Messages were sent to management on the employee messaging system but again, there was little effort to remedy the situation.
“It’s only a matter of time before someone is severely injured,” he said. “If not here, somewhere else.”
Lime followed up by issuing a recall on its scooters due to breakage and potential for putting users at risk of injury while riding.
In November 2018, Lime issued a statement about its recalls.
“Safety is Lime’s highest priority,” it said. “The vast majority of Lime’s fleet is manufactured by other companies and decommissioned Okai scooters are being replaced with newer, more advanced scooters considered best in class for safety. We don’t anticipate any real service disruptions.”
Defective Scooter Risks
There are varied risks of scooter transportation. Users are frequently riding on busy streets, in and out of traffic. Reliance upon a sturdy mode of transportation is imperative to personal safety, as injuries range from minor falls to death, depending on the circumstances. There have been reports of head trauma, broken bones in emergency rooms due to the increased use and popularity of scooter operations like Lime.
Multiple accounts of scooter accidents have made the news including the story of Jacoby Stoneking, who fell off an electric scooter and died of head trauma. The baseboard of the scooter he rented that morning was found snapped in half nearly 500 feet away from where he fell.
Contact a Lime Scooter Lawyer
If you or someone you love was injured from riding on a Lime scooter, either by fire or from the baseboard or other components breaking, we would like to speak with you. You may be entitled to compensation by filing a lawsuit. Our lawyers respond promptly to all inquiries and would be honored to speak with you.