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More LimePod crashes, erratic driving have people calling for improved security

LimePod is Lime's carsharing option, first launched in Seattle. (Matt PItman, KIRO Radio)

People pointing to serious hit-and-run crashes and erratic drivers say the pilot LimePod car-sharing service is leading to new dangers on the road.

LimePod test drive: Lime’s new carshare product for Seattle

They say the company needs to make things safer. Now Lime is responding, saying it’s listening and that it is already making changes.

A Nest video shows a LimePod flying out of a Ballard High School parking lot, then smashing into a car parked across the street.

Another case caught on dashcam video shows an erratic driver swerving through Wallingford.

The LimePod first barrels down the wrong side of the road, then nearly hits a pedestrian in a crosswalk.

“Is he drunk?!” one of the people in the video said.

“Oh my God!,” she exclaims.

After the driver runs a red light, the people taking the video decide they need to call police.

Reddit user u/DayYam posted the video to the social media site where it’s now gone semi-viral. He didn’t want to share his name but he and his wife met up with KIRO 7 TV Thursday.

“Yeah it was pretty scary,” he said. “It was shock, and then anger, you know? It seemed like he was going to hit somebody,” he said.

Then there’s another crime involving a LimePod in Seattle’s Ballard neighborhood.

You can see the LimePod pulling into the Ballard High School parking lot. You hear the car squealing – witnesses say it was doing donuts – then leaves the lot at high speed.

“Came flying out literally — looked like they caught air — and crashed directly into my car,” said Andy Frey, who was parked across the street. “It was completely destroyed.”

The four or five people in the Lime car all got out and ran. The police report said according to witnesses, they all looked between 18 and 23 years old.

Neighbors tried to help, shouting stop, but they all got away.

Earlier this week, KIRO 7’s Deedee Sun reported on another hit-and-run LimePod crash in Queen Anne.

“I was going through Twitter and saw your story and it was very similar to mine, so that’s why I reached out,” Frey said. “It’s disturbing that there’s seemingly no accountability for what’s kind of becoming a problem.”

To rent a LimePod, you need the app, a credit card, and driver’s license to scan. Lime says drivers must be 21 years old.

It might seem secure enough, but the attorney for the victim in the Queen Anne crash says clearly there is a problem.

“This is the test market for LimePods, and Lime has to look into how to ensure not just anyone can download the app and use someone else’s ID and credit card, and take off and crash into another motorist or pedestrian,” said Catherine Fleming, a lawyer.

All the issues have others calling on Lime to take action, too.

Carsharing vehicles being used as getaway cars in thefts

“It’s putting other people in danger obviously,” said the Wallingford woman in the car with the dashcam.

“For Lime to tighten up what they’re doing with this program, because someone else could be seriously hurt,” Frey said.

KIRO 7 talked with Lime on the phone and a spokesperson said they are treating the problem with urgency, and that public safety is their top priority.

The company says over the past two weeks, it’s already made several changes to make their app and service more secure. Those changes include:

  •  Firmware upgrade for all vehicles to prevent a hack by fraudulent riders
  •  Banning all prepaid cards
  •  Increased active patrolling by our local operations
  •  Continued working closely with law enforcement authorities; namely by forwarding all   fraud incident information to the appropriate local authorities and streamlined   procedures with SPD auto theft division for expedited reporting of active fraud and   stolen vehicles

The spokesperson also sent this statement, saying:

Lime has a zero-tolerance policy for vandalism and fraudulent ridership. The safety of the Lime community, riders and non-riders alike, is our top priority, which is why we are continuously developing more stringent rider verification for LimePod. Any report of fraudulent ridership or dangerous behavior will result in immediate removal from the Lime platform. If the community experiences such behavior, they should first and foremost contact local law enforcement and then Lime customer service to report the incident.

With more than 100,000 trips in 6 months, it’s clear LimePods play a valuable role in positively impacting people’s lives, providing them a solution for their daily transportation needs.

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