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ROTTEN LIMES

A software glitch is throwing riders off of Lime scooters

Reuters/Paul Hanna
Life comes at you fast.
  • Corinne Purtill
By Corinne Purtill

Reporter

Something is off with Lime scooters.

Riders in Switzerland and New Zealand have reported the front wheels of their electric scooters locking suddenly mid-ride, hurling riders to the ground. The malfunction has resulted in dozens of injuries ranging from bruises to broken jaws.

Lime pulled all its scooters from Swiss streets in January when reports of the incidents surfaced there. When the city of Auckland, New Zealand voted to suspend the company earlier this week following 155 reported cases of sudden braking, the company acknowledged that a software glitch was causing the chaos.

“Recently we detected a bug in the firmware of our scooter fleet that under rare circumstances could cause sudden excessive braking during use,” Lime wrote in a blog post Saturday. “[I]n very rare cases—usually riding downhill at top speed while hitting a pothole or other obstacle—excessive brake force on the front wheel can occur, resulting in a scooter stopping unexpectedly.”

The company claims that fewer than 0.0045% of all rides worldwide have been affected, adding that “any injury is one too many.” An initial fix reduced the number of incidents, it said, and a final update underway on all scooters will soon be complete.

It’s unclear just how many of the other 17 countries where Lime has deployed scooters have been affected by the problem. A Texas man sued the company this week after a similar-sounding incident threw him from a Lime scooter.

Lime was valued at $2 billion earlier this year, just two years after its launch. It’s not the only company in the crowded electric scooter rental market to field such reports. While most scooter-related injuries stem from traffic accidents or improper use by riders, there have also been reports of malfunctioning machines causing injuries, like the Skip scooter that flung Quartz reporter Mike Murphy onto the pavement in San Francisco late last year.

This story was updated to include Lime’s response on Saturday and information on the Texas lawsuit.

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