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Rental E-Bikes Seem Fun But Are They Safe?

Recent news reports citing defective front brakes of Lyft’s Ford GoBikes have prompted Lyft to remove 3,000 e-bikes from San Francisco, New York City, and Washington D.C. Uber has acknowledged that their e-bikes use the same braking system as Lyft’s e-bikes and claims that they have modified the bikes to address the malfunction, however, unlike Lyft, Uber has not pulled any of their e-bikes from the road. There are 1200 of Lyft’s Ford GoBikes and 500 Uber JUMP e-bikes in San Francisco alone and more throughout the California.

Electric bicycles also known as e-bikes or pedal-assist bicycles “are bicycles with a battery-powered ‘assist’ that comes via pedaling or, in some cases, a throttle” that make it easier to bike faster and up hills. E-bikes have become a norm in cities across the country, especially in California. From San Diego to the California, commuters and tourists have been using e-bikes to ride around the city. E-bikes are available for rent throughout the California. These include JUMP e-bikes operated by Uber and Ford GoBikes operated by Lyft.

Lyft spokeswoman Julie Wood said on April 14, 2019: “[W]e recently received a small number of reports from riders who experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel. Out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively removing the pedal-assist bikes from service for the time being. We know this is disappointing to the many people who love the current experience — but reliability and safety come first.”

Injuries from use of Lyft’s Ford GoBikes range from bruising to a broken hip on March 17, 2019. Customers report flying over the handlebars in Queens and Brooklyn. There have been at least 3 reports of injuries on Uber’s JUMP bikes where riders experience the same front-wheel locking after applying the brakes that left one rider with a broken wrist and concussion.

E-bikes can be dangerous even for an experienced cyclist. The owners of e-bikes have a duty to ensure safe equipment for their customers. If you have been injured by an e-bike do not hesitate to call VenardiZurada LLP to learn about your rights as an e-bike customer.

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