Lyft’s E-Bike Sharing Problems Grow Over Brake Issues

The debacle facing Lyft’s bike sharing program is growing more litigious as victims of accidents said to be caused by faulty braking systems are lawyering up. It was inevitable that people injured on bikes, something that happens every week, would eventually find grounds to sue a mobility company like Lyft that provides the bike.

Lawsuits by bike riders who have non-impact accidents are rare.

When a pedestrian stepped in the path of Felipe Ventura and his electric Citi Bike, he slammed on the brakes—and flew head-over-heels onto the ground, breaking both of his elbows, reports The New York Daily News.

Ventura at first blamed himself for the fall. But he changed his mind last week when he learned Citi Bike pulled from service its entire fleet of 1,000 electric pedal-assist bikes because of a problem with their brakes. He’s among a growing number of injured electric Citi Bike users who are seeking legal help, says The News.

The March 16 crash kept Ventura home from his job as a nurse—and may forever keep him from fully extending his arms. To add insult to injury: someone who helped Ventura at the accident scene didn’t properly dock his bike. “They charged me an overtime fee for four hours—I think it was $12.50,” Ventura said.

The Daily News has found eight New Yorkers who racked up medical expenses after flying off one of the easy-pedaling electric two-wheelers.

The brake problem has only been found in Citi Bike’s pedal-assist E-bikes, not the traditional bikes. The E-bikes use brakes from Japan-based parts maker Shimano. A Shimano spokesman claims Citi Bike misused the company’s products in building its electric models.

“This is not a Shimano brake issue,” said Shimano spokesman Eric Doyne.

Shimano specifications require power modulators on ebike brakes, Doyne said. Electric-assist Citi Bikes lack such modulators, which are supposed to make it easier to control braking.

David Kiley
David Kiley

David Kiley is Chief of Content for The BRAKE Report. Kiley is an award-winning business journalist and author, having covered the auto industry for USA Today, Businessweek, AOL/Huffington Post, as well as written articles for Automobile and Popular Mechanics.