Lime says the blaze is an “isolated incident” and stressed the safety of its bikes
A dockless Lime bike went up in flames in Rockaway Beach Wednesday after the bike apparently exploded, according to fire department officials.
The electric bike, which is part of the city’s dockless bike-share pilot program, caught fire just after 8:45 p.m. near 79th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, an FDNY spokesperson said. A video posted to Twitter by the Rockaway Times shows the bike on the ground with flames shooting out from under the seat.
The bike’s rider suffered a burn to his leg, telling authorities that the battery powering the two wheeler appeared to explode beneath him.
After investigating the burnt-out bike, Lime spokesperson Russell Murphy said someone tried to bust open the bike’s lock with a sharp object, but instead penetrated the small lithium battery that powers the lock. Murphy stressed that the blaze was an unusual “isolated incident” and that the company’s bikes are safe for cyclists.
“This sharp object ultimately ignited the battery,” says Russell Murphy, a spokesperson with Lime. “Lithium batteries are safe and those in Lime bikes that power the motor and the lock are surrounded by protective layers of metal and plastic for added security. Our bikes are entirely safe when used properly, and we remind riders to respect the vehicles and that vandalism is dangerous and illegal.”
Last summer, the Rockaway peninsula was the first area to get dockless bikes in New York City, and aside from the lone bike catching fire, has had a smooth roll out into the area. Lime recently increased its fleet in the Rockaways from 400 to 600 and is extending the pilot through September.