Scooter rental company Lime is facing a lawsuit accusing it of failing to properly care for its equipment.
The lawsuit, filed in a San Francisco court, claims that dozens of Lime riders have been injured by poorly-maintained rental scooters.
Attorneys estimate that, in total, some 50 people in the Bay Area have been injured by faulty rental scooters. The lawsuit recalls injuries ranging in severity from smashed teeth to broken bones and brain trauma.
The Santa Monica Daily Press recounted individual claims from the lawsuit.
“Plaintiff Rae Curwin is a California citizen who resides in Santa Monica, California,” the suit states. After activating her Lime scooter and accelerating to speed, Curwin’s throttle stuck. She was thrown off the scooter and broke her jaw.
Similarly: “Plaintiff Daryl Kent is a California citizen who resides in Glass Valley, California. On July 31, 2018, Ms. Kent rented a Lime scooter in Santa Monica, California. The throttle suddenly and unexpectedly became stuck and Ms. Kent was unable to stop. Ms. Kent was thrown from the scooter, breaking her leg and her hand.”
Along with Lime, Segway is also named as a defendant in the case, with attorneys charging the latter company with manufacturing poor-quality, potentially dangerous scooters.
The San Francisco Chronicle notes that Lime has had a business presence in the city since 2018. It places white and green scooters in strategic places across San Francisco—and many other American cities—which can be activated using a mobile phone application. Users pay a set fee and are then able to rent and ride any available Lime scooter.
A Lime scooter in Balitmore. Along with competitors like Bird, Lime has expanded its presence across the United States and around the world. Image via Flickr/user:Elvert Barnes (username:perspective). (CCA-BY-2.0).
While Lime did not offer the Chronicle detailed feedback on the lawsuit, a company spokesperson stressed that safety is their highest priority.
“Lime’s highest priority is the safety of our riders and we take seriously and claims of injuries on our products,” a Lime representative wrote in an e-mail. “We have received and are reviewing the claims made in this lawsuit. As the global leader in micromobility, Lime works tirelessly to ensure our riders are fully secure on our scooters and bikes.”
However, the lawsuit claims that Lime’s problems go beyond its use of dangerously ill-maintaned scooters. Alongside detailing rider injuries, the lawsuit asserts that Lime’s “juicers”—contractors who are tasked with picking up Lime scooters, charging them at home, and then placing them back into circulation—lack incentive to report faulty equipment.
“Upon information and belief, the Lime ‘juicers’ are not paid by Lime until they charge the scooter and deploy it back into rotation,” the suit explains, adding that “juicers” are provided no compensation if they pick up a scooter and report it as broken, unsafe, or otherwise faulty.
“Upon information and belief,” the lawsuit adds, “the juicers are not employed to maintain the scooters.”
Although Lime does not appear to have ever claimed its “juicers” provide any service beyond charging, the company may have erred if it regularly ignored or disincentivized contractors from providing safety-related feedback.
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