Lyft pulls fleet of e-bikes from San Francisco streets after two catch fire

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Electric bikes are the newest way to get around San Francisco-- but the entire fleet of new rideshare bikes are being taken offline Wednesday night after it appears batteries have caught fire on two of the e-bikes in recent days.

"I saw a bunch of white smoke," said San Francisco resident Joan House.

House says that smoke was coming from a bike dock across the street from her house in the Lower Haight, an electric rideshare bike was on fire. House took pictures Wednesday morning as firefighters responded to put it out, the smell was terrible.

"Even firefighters took a step back, there was snapping and popping sounds of the battery, I guess exploding," House added.

Then on Saturday, another electric bike seems to have mysteriously caught on fire at Folsom and Second streets.

The E-bikes are operated by Lyft, under the name Bay Wheels.

The company told ABC7 News:

"Out of an abundance of caution, we are temporarily making the eBike fleet unavailable to riders while we investigate and update our battery technology. Thanks to our riders for their patience and we look forward to making ebikes available soon."

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney told us he wants more safeguards in place before the eBikes can hit the streets again.

"If it's a flaw with the bikes, we need to see their plan before they put them back out there," said Haney.

The Lyft e-bikes had just returned to local streets just weeks ago, following a legal battle with the SFMTA over exclusivity rights over other bikeshare companies.

Lyft's e-bikes were also pulled from the streets last spring after the brakes on some bikes sent some riders crashing over the handlebars.

The Lyft ebikes aren't the only modes of transport with issues, now raising questions about safety. Weeks back, the battery on an electric Lyme bike caught fire in New York, which the company blamed on vandalism.

Jonathan Hoyt says electric bikes are the best things he's found for commuting.

"I hope they work the bugs out, they are super fun," said Hoyt.
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