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Bicycles will soon be available on the Lyft app, but its e-bikes still need a fix


Lyft bike-sharing will soon be available in NYC through the same app you order cars.Lyft bike-sharing will soon be available in NYC through the same app you order cars.

Image: lyft

Bike-sharing is coming to the Lyft app for New Yorkers.

Starting in May, Lyft-owned bike-sharing company Motivate will offer its Citi Bikes directly through the Lyft app. Citi Bike has 12,000 bikes available in NYC, though this past weekend some 1,000 of the electric-assist bicycles available for rent in New York were pulled due to a braking problem

While there’s no set timeline for when the electric bikes will return to the streets, Lyft has since swapped out the potentially faulty bikes with classic pedal bikes – with no electric motor to give you a boost. Bikes in the San Francisco Bay Area and Washington, D.C. were also affected. Lyft says it only pulled 15 percent of available bicycles in all three locations.

“After a small number of reports and out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively pausing our electric bikes from service. Safety always comes first,” said a Lyft bike spokesperson in a statement. 

That means that even if the e-bikes aren’t back in a few weeks, traditional bikes will be available to select users in the Lyft app in NYC. Eventually Citi Bike members with a separate account will be able to link to the Lyft app. Lyft acquired Motivate last year and has slowly been bringing in the bike-share features to the ride-hail app instead of a separate app to reserve and rent the bikes.

The in-app bicycle rentals are expected to make it to more cities in the coming months.

Lyft explained how the app integration will work: You’ll find one of the 750 Citi Bike stations, open the app, select the bike option, and punch in the five-digit code from the app into the dock to release your chosen bicycle. It’ll use your Lyft account to book the bike and for payment.

How to use the Lyft app to rent a bicycle.

How to use the Lyft app to rent a bicycle.

Image: lyft

Lyft is known for its ride-sharing services, but last year it launched electric scooter rentals in some cities and acquired Motivate’s bike-share system. Lyft has been putting together a new generation electric bicycle that will deploy soon — but until then the e-bikes that were available were the pre-acquisition Motivate-made models. 

Like its competitor Uber, Lyft is trying to diversify its offering well beyond the usual taxi ride.

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  • We recently received a small number of reports in which riders experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel. (This could cause a fall. Strongly applying the front brake can have this effect on any bike.) 

  • We proactively engaged our suppliers and a third-party engineering firm to perform a root cause analysis. That work is ongoing, but — given the importance of rider safety — we wanted to take this voluntary pause action.

  • This impacts 15% of bikes in the Motivate-run bike share systems Citi Bike (NYC), Capital Bikeshare (DC) and GoBike (Bay Area). 

  • The Motivate systems will work to replace these bikes with classic bikes so service levels will be largely uninterrupted. 

  • This was the model Motivate built prior to the acquisition. Separately, Lyft has been working on a new electric bike model that will be ready to deploy soon. 

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