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Seattle Lime bike fleet is partially down with dead batteries, recharging underway

(Matt Pitman)

Seattleites are long-used to the sight of Lime bikes strewn around the city, but if you’ve seen more lately in inconvenient places, it’s probably because their batteries were dead. You might think they they’d still be usable as regular bikes, but not so.

Much of the Lime fleet is idle at the moment as a result of heavy usage during Labor Day weekend, as well ill-timed employees’ days off, a Lime spokeperson told The Seattle Times. The company is working around the clock to re-power the dead electric bicycles, which have been dormant for the past few weeks.

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“If we just had regular bicycles, everybody, this wouldn’t be a problem because we all have to have e-bikes now,” joked KIRO Radio’s Tom Tangney.

“You see people zipping by on those bikes. The motors have gotten so small on it that it really looks like people are peddling hard,” added co-host John Curley. “Then you realize the electric bike is doing a lot of the work.”

For those a bit tired of stepping over the seemingly homeless Lime bikes all over sidewalks, know that the city is aware. A recent Seattle Department of Transportation study found that 17.4 percent of audited bikes were parked in a manner — parked is a strong word — that could obstruct pedestrians on sidewalks. But the city is planning to reduce such hindrances by installing bike corrals.

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Approximately 88,000 Lime and Jump trips were made over the course of three-month period, and Lime and Jump keep about 5,000 bikes in the city. Despite the recent troubles, Lime plans to stick around and hopes to offer them with scooters and cars in one app.

Listen to the Tom and Curley Show weekday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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