April 14, 2019 / 10:55 PM / in 4 months

Lyft pulls electric bikes in three U.S. cities after complaints about braking

FILE PHOTO: A Lyft bicycle is shown at the Lyft listing on the Nasdaq during an IPO event in Los Angeles, California, U.S., March 29, 2019. REUTERS/Mike Blake

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Lyft Inc is removing several thousand electric bikes from service in its bike-share program in New York, Washington and San Francisco because of a braking problem, the ride-hailing company said on Sunday.

“We recently received a small number of reports from riders who experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel,” the company said in a blog post emailed to customers on Sunday.

The company’s bike share division is working to replace about 3,000 pedal-assist bikes in New York, Washington and San Francisco with traditional bikes to prevent service interruptions. The company already operates about 17,000 traditional bikes in those cities.

The bike share brands that were impacted by the service removal include Citi Bike in New York, Capital Bikeshare in Washington D.C., and Ford GoBike in the Bay Area.

Some of the electric bikes are still on docks but customers will no longer be able to rent them.

“After a small number of reports and out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively pausing our electric bikes from service, said Citi Bike spokeswoman Julie Wood. “Safety always comes first.”

The company said it had been working on a new electric bike model that would be ready to deploy soon.

Lyft, which went public in March, bought Citi Bike operator Motivate last year in a move to fend off competition from rival Uber Technologies Inc’s purchase of electric cycle-sharing startup JUMP Bikes months before.

Reporting by Imani Moise; Editing by Peter Cooney and Chris Reese

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