Startup News & Analysis

Lime scooter-sharing startup suspended in Switzerland as a glitch sends riders flying

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien /

Scooter-sharing startup Lime has reportedly pulled its scooters from the streets of Switzerland, following a glitch that caused the front wheel of its scooters to lock up and users to be thrown from their rides, with some suffering serious injuries.

According to a TechCrunch report, Lime has removed its fleets of electric scooters from the cities of Basel and Zurich for safety checks, as it investigates the possibility of a safety fault.

The move follows several reports of scooters spontaneously rebooting during rides, causing the anti-theft system to come into play, meaning the front wheels have locked up mid-scoot.

An excerpt from a complaint (written in English) published in Swiss media shows one Lime user claiming their scooter’s brakes stopped working shortly before the front wheel locked up.

“This way, I’ve been thrown off the scooter at 25kph. I’m in the hospital right now,” the complaint reads.

The rider goes on to question why the front wheel would be locked “when the scooter is unlocked, rented and paired”, before asking Lime to analyse their scooter data.

“This kind of incident can kill people. Or paralize. Or break bones, at least,” the rider wrote.

Lime’s scooters have a top speed of just under 30kph.

In a statement issued to Swiss customers, translated by TechCrunch from the original German, Lime said it has received reports of “sudden brake maneuvers … leading to crashes”.

In the statement, Lime suggests a software update could have caused the scooters to reboot in the middle of rides.

“We have already taken measures to ensure this will never happen again. Nonetheless, we are testing each device thoroughly to ensure that no software or hardware issues remain,” the statement said.

Lime scooters have recently entered Australia, hitting the streets of Brisbane. However, there have been no reports of injuries here as of yet.

The California-headquartered e-bike and scooter-sharing startup raised $US335 million ($454.08 million) in July last year, including a “sizeable investment” from ride-sharing giant Uber.

The e-scooter revolution is gaining speed globally. Just last month, San Francisco startup Spin was acquired by car manufacturer Ford for a reported $140 million, just two years after it launched.

Elsewhere, scooter-sharing startup Bird has launched a platform allowing other startups and small businesses to manage their own branded scooter fleets.

NOW READ: Taxify unveils plans to bring electric scooter-sharing to Australia

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Stephanie Palmer-Derrien

Stephanie Palmer-Derrien is the editor at StartupSmart. You can contact her at [email protected].