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In Bay Area, Ford GoBike Electric Bikes Taken out of Service

1:05 PM PDT on April 16, 2019

Note: GJEL Accident Attorneys regularly sponsors coverage on Streetsblog San Francisco and Streetsblog California. Unless noted in the story, GJEL Accident Attorneys is not consulted for the content or editorial direction of the sponsored content.

As reported by Streetsblog NYC, on Sunday, Lyft, which operates bike share systems in multiple cities, found a flaw with its electric-assist bikes and is taking them out of service. That means e-bikes are getting pulled from the Bay Area's Ford GoBike system.

From the Ford GoBike release, which was more or less identical to releases sent out in NYC and Washington DC, where the same e-bikes are deployed:

Since GoBike first deployed electric bikes last year, riders have taken hundreds of thousands of rides and shared with us incredibly helpful and overwhelmingly positive feedback.

However, we recently received a small number of reports from riders who experienced stronger than expected braking force on the front wheel. Out of an abundance of caution, we are proactively removing the electric bikes from service for the time being. We know this is disappointing to the many people who love the current experience--but reliability and safety come first.

Given our region's brutal hills (and the advantage of a motor to level them a bit) Bay Area electric GoBike fans were understandably disappointed. A few were quick to point out the irony of GoBikes taking such a proactive step because of a technical/safety issue, given that the Bay Area's bike-share system is owned and operated by a ride-hailing service:

Of course, Ford GoBikes aren't the only option for electric assist bike-sharing--there's also JUMP. But SFMTA has made it difficult to rent JUMP bikes by restricting the company to only 500 bikes in San Francisco. There are another fifty JUMP bikes deployed in the Presidio, which is federal land and therefore not regulated by the SFMTA. Streetsblog has inquiries out to JUMP and to SFMTA to find out if there are any plans to lift those caps and/or expectations of expansion in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area. According to an article in Berkeleyside, electric bike deployment in San Francisco and the East Bay is limited because of agreements between the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and Motivate (the operator of GoBikes that was purchased by Lyft) that limit competition with the Bay Area's "official" bike-share system. Many advocates want those limits removed.

GoBikes, meanwhile, did its big rollout of electric bikes about a year ago.

So how long until electric GoBikes are back in service? Also from the company's statement:

We have been hard at work on a new electric bike, and are excited to bring that to you soon. The new bike model will be accessible just by scanning a QR code or tapping your Clipper card, and overall will be more fun to ride. In the meantime, we will quickly replace some of the electric bikes with pedal bikes. A portion of electric bikes in San Jose have different components, and will remain in service. As a thank you for your patience, we will extend monthly and annual memberships by an extra month.

Are you a regular electric GoBike user? Did you ever have problems with the brakes? And what will you do now that they are being taken out of service? Do you use JUMP bikes as well? Have you had any issues with them (aside from just finding one)?

Please post below.

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