- Hundreds of e-bikes pulled from New York’s Citi Bike system over a braking issue have been stripped of their electronic parts and integrated into Chicago's Divvy fleet. The news was first reported by the New York Daily News and confirmed by Lyft, which operates both systems.
- The bikes were among the thousands of Lyft bikes pulled from New York City, San Francisco and Washington, DC after a number of passengers reported being launched over the handlebars when brakes caused the front wheel to lock up.
- Lyft spokesperson Cory Epstein said there are "no safety concerns" with the refurbished bikes. "It is the normal course of business for us to take products that we own and move them to another market, to recycle the bikes to be more sustainable and provide people with new products,” he told Smart Cities Dive.
Lyft — whose bike-share markets also include San Francisco, Portland, OR and Washington, DC — will move vehicles across markets in the normal course of business, especially pedal-powered bikes which have a longer lifespan. The movement allows the company to keep a fresh supply of bikes in cities and reduce waste.
The newness of the company's e-bike fleet means there's not much precedent for e-bike recycling or transitioning to pedal-powered bikes. Lyft's decision to pull its pedal-assist bikes over the braking issue was a setback for its planned expansion into dockless e-bikes (according to reports, the brakes required a power moderator that the existing e-bikes did not have).
Lyft said in November that the e-bikes would return to New York sometime this winter, but has not set a specific timetable. The company will also bring thousands of e-bikes to Chicago. Both fleets will be of a separate model.
Mobility companies have been looking for ways to recycle or extend the lifetime of their vehicles to be less wasteful. The average e-scooter has a lifespan of just three months, since they face heavy use and difficult conditions that they were not originally designed for, according to a Boston Consulting Group (BCG) report.
Companies like Lyft and Bird have been working on their own models that will last longer. Bikes, meanwhile, tend to last longer, since the shared vehicles have been engineered for rough treatment and heavy mileage — moving them to different fleets after repairs can help refresh vehicles for existing users.