Lyft pulls e-bikes from California streets after battery fires

Lyft is halting its new bicycle program after batteries on two bikes caught fire in San Francisco.

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The first fire happened July 27 and the second happened Wednesday, KTVU-TV reported. No injuries related to the fires have been reported, but Lyft is still pulling the bikes from San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose to investigate.

"Because the safety of our riders is our number one concern, we are temporarily making the e-bike fleet unavailable to riders while we investigate and update our battery technology," a Lyft spokesperson wrote in a statement to The San Francisco Examiner.

The bikes had been on the streets for two weeks before the fires occurred. In mid-July, the city of San Francisco granted Lyft a temporary permit to deploy its e-bikes after the company sued the city, Tech Crunch reported. The lawsuit, filed in early June, claimed the city was violating a 10-year contract that would give Lyft exclusive rights to operate bike-share programs.

San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency officials told Tech Crunch they're monitoring the situation.

“We encourage Lyft to put customer safety first," SFMTA said in a statement. "We have an inquiry into Lyft as to the circumstances surrounding this incident as well as to how they intend to prevent any future fires and ensure the safety of customers and the ongoing operability of the bikesharing system. Bikeshare is an important part of the SF transportation system. The agency is working to ensure that our residents can consistently rely on the safety and availability of bikes.”

These aren't the first incidents of e-bike or scooter batteries catching fire. In March, a fire broke out at Citi Bike's hub in New York that was apparently caused when a set of lithium-ion batteries that were charging caught fire, according to The New York Daily NewsSkip and Lime have previously pulled their e-scooters from the streets for battery fires.

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