You’re scared. I get it. I’m a Lime bike, and we keep catching on fire. A battery lit up in New York and mildly scorched a rider. Then a battery in a Ballard Lime warehouse got hot while charging and burned some others. Then, the same night, at the University of Washington, one bike’s battery went nuts and was throwing around flames like your dad’s friend wielding a roman candle after 12 Coors Lights.
But Lime says we’re safe to ride, that the UW and New York bikes got vandalized. But oh, hey, UWPD found no evidence of that. And do I always believe Lime? No! And am I worried my own battery might go off and send some poor rider, loins ablaze, diving into Lake Union? Yes!
Get some perspective, though: You drive cars. I mean, aside from the ice caps melting like cubes in summer cocktails and all that apocalyptic jazz, if you get, like, a bad arm spasm on the freeway, everything can go Mad Max quick. Then you wring your hands about bike and scooter pitfalls. This magazine even asked recently—“Would You Actually Ride an E-Scooter?” A doctor said no!
Last year there were 12,348 car crashes in this city. Nationally, traffic accidents have snuffed out 3.6 million people since 1899 and injured 80 million more. Cars weigh like 3,000 pounds and you can go 60 miles an hour. Then you harass people when they won’t go faster. Then you let 16-year-olds drive because they can back around a fucking corner. I’ve seen Michael Bay movies: I know what a gas tank can do. A semitruck caught on fire on I-5 in August. The Seattle Times wrote 124 words and embedded a tweet. Meanwhile a couple of us bikes get a little zesty and it merits a 1,625-word investigation on Crosscut?
Yes, we’re still new here, and ugly (our aesthetic might be described as “1990s energy drink”). We get it. You’re prejudice. We’re symbols of big tech and venture capitalism. So you throw us in lakes. Totally commensurate reaction. Or you get annoyed when someone dumps a few of us on the sidewalk in an orgiastic tangle. I did not ask for another bike’s big hot battery all up in my basket and I do not want it. The city says it’s working on that—more parking, better instruction.
Look, Seattle, you were the first in the country to welcome us free-floating bikes. We really appreciate that. But give us a second to get situated. While you wait: Do right and go flip off an SUV.