On Sunday, Ford GoBike, the short-term bike rental company owned by Lyft, announced that it has pulled its electric bikes from the streets of San Francisco and other major cities over safety concerns.
According to GoBike’s Sunday statement:
We 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 electric bikes from service for the time being. [...] We will quickly replace some of the electric bikes with pedal bikes. A portion of electric bikes in San Jose have different components, and will remain in service.
The company will tack a free month onto longtime customer’s memberships as an apology for the recall. The statement also promised that a new Clipper-card enabled electric bike will be on the streets soon.
GoBike added the electric bikes to its fleet in 2018. Gothamist reports that the brake issue vaguely alluded to in the official statement involves the risk of bikes flipping over when riders apply the brakes.
Lyft bought GoBike’s parent company Motivator last July. Although the bikes bear the name of Ford Motor Company, Ford is mostly involved as a sponsor—in other cities where the recall is in effect the same bikes bear names like CitiBike, named for the Citibank chain of banks.
GoBike more than tripled its electric bike offerings in SF in December, from 250 vehicles up to 850, while also rolling the devices out in Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, and San Jose.
The company regularly trumpets the rapidity of its expansion in SF and beyond; at the end of March, GoBike spokesperson Miguel Bagsit told Curbed SF via email that the company hit a milestone of three million customer trips.