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Charlotte Area

Some Lime Scooters May Be Pulled Off Streets, Reports Of Them Breaking In Half

People ride scooters on a sidewalk in uptown Charlotte at lunch hour in June.
David Boraks

Some of Charlotte’s Lime electric scooters might be getting recalled over concerns they may fall apart while people are using them, according to the Washington Post.

The newspaper reported Saturday that the company is recalling all of its models worldwide made by Chinese manufacturer Okai. The decision comes several weeks after Lime announced the Okai models may break apart “when subjected to repeated abuse.” Photos of malfunctions posted on social media show the handlebar stem, or tube, of the scooter ripped from its base.

Credit pdxscootermess / Instagram

According to Gizmodo, the bike and scooter share company said in an emailed statement that it’s “decommissioning all Okai scooters in the global fleet” and will replace them with “newer, more advanced scooters considered best in class for safety.”

The company told Gizmodo that it doesn’t “anticipate any real service disruptions.”

Lime also has not said which cities the recall affects or how many scooters are being pulled. The company has around 400 scooters in Charlotte.

Pulling Okai models off city streets is the latest in a series of Lime scooter mishaps. The company pulled thousands of its scooters off city streets over the summer for fear that some may catch fire. According to a statement given to the Washington Post, the company learned of a battery defect within a small number of scooters that “could result in the battery smoldering or in some cases catching fire.”

In that instance, the company recalled about 2,000 scooters, the Post said.

The city launched a pilot program to examine electric scooter ridership and popularity in May. The program is now over and the scooters seem to be here to stay, but city officials are pushing for increased safety rules after reports of accidents and misuse.

There aren’t hard numbers on scooter accidents within the city, but Novant Health Medical Director Dr. Charles Bregier told WFAE in September that the hospital has seen an increase in scooter-related injuries since the spring.

“I would say in my experience that we're seeing five times as many of these kinds of accidents than we used to before they came on the market,” Bregier said.

There have been two Lime scooter-related deaths nationwide, one in Dallas and another in Washington.

There have not been any scooter-related fatalities in Charlotte, but Bregier called the injuries he’s seen “significant.”

“Broken noses, facial contusions, broken arms, broken shoulders, broken wrists, ankle sprains, wrist sprains, all kinds of problems,” he said.

On its website, the city has recommended scooter safety suggestions, such as wearing a helmet, obeying traffic laws and riding while sober. But beyond the recommendations, there are no hard rules.

And city officials are holding off on drafting new safety rules while state lawmakers consider legislation.

State House transportation committee chairman Rep. John Torbett of Gaston County told NC Insider last month that he plans to introduce a bill to address how scooters, and scooter safety, are regulated.

In addition to Charlotte, Lime has scooters in three other North Carolina cities: Durham, Greensboro and Raleigh.

Lime has not immediately responded to requests for comment.