Lyft, the owner of Ford GoBike, which operates a “bike share system” in the San Francisco Bay Area, has taken all its e-bikes out of service, citing safety concerns with its front brake.
According to an email delivered to its users on April 14, 2019, Lyft “received a small number of reports from riders who experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel.” No details regarding the extent or severity of injuries suffered as a result were provided.
In reporting by the San Francisco Chronicle on April 15, 2019, Lyft representatives confirmed that the faulty brakes had caused riders to be ejected over the handlebars of the motorized bikes. Lyft, through its subsidiary Motivate, also operates e-bikes under the name Citi Bike in New York and Capital Bikeshare in Washington, DC.
Shortly following Lyft's recall, Uber reported that it had also received reports of injury from its users related to malfunctioning brakes on its dockless pink "Jump" bikes. Uber quietly pulled its Jump bikes from the market sometime in 2018 and repaired the faulty front brakes. Unlike Lyft, Uber did not notify its users or transit officials of this issue. It is reported that Uber has known of this brake issue since April 2018.
Reporting by the Washinton Post has revealed that both Lyft and Uber's e-bikes shared a common braking component - the Shimano BR-C6000-F. The Japanese manufacturer has declared the specifications of this particular brake calls for the use of a power modulator to ensure proper braking. Both Lyft and Uber's e-bikes appear to have lacked this component, leading to instances of excessive and unexpected braking.
With reported speeds up to 18 miles per hour, the potential for injury on defective Lyft and Uber e-bikes was considerable. Riders could have experienced lacerations, road-rash, broken bones, and in the most serious cases, mild or severe traumatic brain injury.
Individuals injured due to defective e-bikes, may have legal claims against Lyft or Uber as the entities responsible for the maintenance of their fleet. Claims against the designer and manufacturer of the bike and its braking components for products liability should also be explored by an injured rider in close deliberation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
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Personal injury law exists in order to protect those injured due to another person or company’s negligence, either unintentional or reckless, as well as to compensate victims of intentional acts such as battery. Rains Lucia Stern St. Phalle & Silver has the knowledge and experience to secure full compensation for our clients.