Residents of Los Angeles or any surrounding city, have probably seen electric scooters on every other street corner. Bird and Lime scooters seemed to be dropped off by the dozens, left out on front lawns and sidewalks until someone picks them up.
There’s no telling what condition an electric scooter might be in when it’s picked up or when it last received maintenance. Though sometimes invisible, there are many electric scooter maintenance problems that affect safety.
Lime came under fire in early 2019 when several scooters unexpectedly stopped while going downhill, throwing riders from the vehicle. This was contributed to a software error and has reportedly since been fixed.
Despite the updates, vehicles controlled by software are difficult to predict and prone to failures that mechanical vehicles are not.
Scooters became a hot button issue in mid-2019 when several electric scooters in California caught fire. In August, an entire warehouse of electric scooters burned down when one scooter’s battery unexpectedly exploded, causing a chain reaction of lithium-ion explosions.
If a scooter is not properly maintained, loosening parts will only get worse with continuous use. This is especially problematic because the issues may be imperceptible unless the scooter is moving at top speed. At these high speeds, any error could easily throw the driver from the scooter at 15 mph.
In October 2019, authorities found a Florida man cutting the brakes of more than 100 Bird and Lime scooters across Fort Lauderdale. Electric scooters are left out in public places for days or weeks, so there’s no telling what other riders have done to them. Without regular maintenance and safe storage, any scooter could be affected by vandalism intended to harm the rider.