Lyft warns that the future of its business depends heavily on bikes and scooters

Jon Niola/FlickrLyft runs bike share programs in several US cities, including New York’s Citi Bike.

  • Lyft made its IPO documents public for the first time on Friday.
  • Among the filing’s risk factors is a dire warning about how much the company is betting on bikes and scooters.
  • Lyft now runs bike-shares in some of America’s biggest cities, and is hoping to expand to even more places.

Lyft is betting big that its vast network of bike and scooter rentals can help it compete with Uber.

In its IPO filing, made public for the first time on Friday, the company warned that if the program doesn’t grow as quickly as expected, it could be bad news for investors.

“If we are unable to efficiently grow and further develop our network of shared bikes and scooters, which may not grow as we expect or become profitable over time, and manage the related risks, our business, financial condition and results of operations could be adversely affected,” the company said.

Last year, Lyft jump-started its move into the bike and scooter space with the purchase of Motivate, a company that was powering bike-share programs in some of the largest US cities, including New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and more. In the filing, Lyft said that it paid $US250.9 million for Motivate.

But outside those urban centres, bike-and-scooter adoption rates might not be as good, the company warned.

“While some major cities have widely adopted bike and scooter sharing, there can be no assurance that new markets we enter will accept, or existing markets will continue to accept, bike and scooter sharing,” the company said.

“And even if they do, that we will be able to execute on our business strategy or that our related offerings will be successful in such markets.”

To be sure, bikes are still a very small part of Lyft’s business compared to ride-hailing. Although it has announced plans to invest $US100 milion into its bike-share network.

The company has made some high-profile hires in the bike and scooter space, including former US Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx – a prominent New York bike activist who has fought for decades to get people out of their cars.

“There are eight parking spots for every car in the US,” Caroline Samponaro, the head of bike, scooter and pedestrian policy at Lyft, told Business Insider in December. “If you think about the fact that we’re using public space for a very small minority of people that have the ability to buy and own a car, we have to flip that around, we have to take the space back and make sure we’re using it for more equitable transportation.

After all, “bikes are transportation too,” she added at the time.

More from Lyft’s IPO filing:

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