An electric bike from the micro-mobility startup Lime burst into flames in New York City on Wednesday night.
A video shared on Twitter by the Rockaway Times depicts a Lime bike on its side, aflame, with onlookers milling about and sirens blaring in the background. According to the paper's tweet, someone was riding the bike at the time and they experienced minor injuries as a result of the fire. According to the tweet, the New York City Fire Department responded to the fire.
A Lime spokesperson initially tweeted at the Rockaway Times , calling it an "isolated incident" and saying, "We are reaching out to the rider and are thankful the injuries were minor." In a subsequent emailed statement, the company blamed the fire on a vandal attempting to break the bike lock.
“Following our investigation we've concluded that this is an isolated incident, in which someone attempted to forcibly break the bike lock with a sharp object, penetrating the well-protected small lithium battery that powers the lock," a Lime spokesperson said in an email. "This sharp object ultimately ignited the battery—similar to what would happen if one used a sharp object to penetrate a phone or laptop battery. 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 and scooters remain safe, and we remind riders to respect the bikes for everyone and that vandalism is dangerous and illegal.”
Lime (originally LimeBike) was founded in 2017 in San Francisco. The company offers dockless bikes and scooters that can be rented with an app in numerous cities around the US and internationally. Lime is currently running a pilot for bikes (electric and vanilla) in the Rockaways and on Staten Island in New York.