A dockless Lime bike went up in flames in New York this week after the bike's battery exploded.
The electric bike, which is part of the city’s dockless bike-share programme, caught fire on Wednesday on Rockaway Beach Boulevard, New York, a New York Fire Department spokesperson said.
A video posted to Twitter by the Rockaway Times shows the bike on the ground with flames shooting out from under the seat.
A @limebike has exploded in Rockaway Beach, NY. Someone was riding it at the time and experienced minor burns. FDNY responded and extinguished the fire. #limebike #fire #rockaway #ThatAintNormal pic.twitter.com/2m7Dd4MC4s
— Rockaway Times (@Rockawaytimes) July 25, 2019
The rider suffered a burn to his leg, apparently telling authorities that the battery powering the bike exploded beneath him.
After investigating the burnt-out bike, Lime spokesperson Russell Murphy said someone tried to bust open the bike’s lock with a sharp object, but instead penetrated the small lithium battery that powers the lock.
Murphy was keen to point out that the blaze was an unusual “isolated incident”.
“This sharp object ultimately ignited the battery,” says Russell Murphy, a spokesperson with Lime. “Lithium batteries are safe and those in Lime bikes that power the motor and the lock are surrounded by protective layers of metal and plastic for added security. Our bikes are entirely safe when used properly, and we remind riders to respect the vehicles and that vandalism is dangerous and illegal.”
In the UK problems with hire bikes tend to be more mundane, possibly because the majority aren’t electric, last week Road.cc reported that ebikes Derby, who claimed to run the UK's biggest electric bike share scheme, have now permanently shut down operations due to "unprecedented levels of vandalism"
It was also revealed last week that bike-share companies might end up being fined £500 a time in an effort to stop hire cycles being left abandoned around London under plans being considered by town halls.