Lime Scooters Pulled After Software Glitch Causes Them to Suddenly Lock Up

Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP/Getty Images

Lime, the app-based scooter rental company, was suspended by officials in Auckland, New Zealand last week after a software glitch caused more than two dozen injuries. The bug caused scooters to abruptly lock up mid-ride, activating their brakes in the process. Most people familiar with the concept of inertia would describe this as “not great.”

Lime identified 155 incidents of irregular braking, 30 of which resulted in injury. In a few of those cases, according to Forbes, the injuries were as severe as a broken jaw or dislocated shoulder. Similar incidents were reported to have occurred in Switzerland in January as well, causing Lime to pause its operations there.

“The safety of people using e-scooters and those that share the environment with them is our number-one priority. While we appreciate the amenity that e-scooters offer as an innovative transport solution, safety is not negotiable,” Auckland Council chief operating officer Dean Kimpton said in a statement. Lime agreed to provide reports of scooter-related incidents every 48 hours and meet on a weekly basis.

Lime is one of the largest e-scooter start-ups in the world. Using a mobile app and geolocation, users can walk up to any of the internet-enabled scooters just sitting on a sidewalk and unlock them for use.

In a statement issued Saturday, the company said, “Through extensive analysis by both our internal team and outside experts, we diagnosed the issue in a laboratory environment and determined that in 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 says it is rolling out a firmware fix, adding, “While this issue has affected less than 0.0045% of all Lime rides, some riders have been injured, and, although most have been bumps and bruises, any injury is one too many.” In the meantime, Lime riders should be ready to bail on a moment’s notice.

Software Glitch Causes Lime Scooters to Lock Up Mid-Ride