Uber warns its big push into scooters and e-bikes is creating unusual new headaches and risks for the company

  • Electric scooters and bicycles present a range of potential problems for Uber, the company said in the prospectus for its initial public offering (IPO), which was released on Thursday.
  • Risks include rider incompetence, failure to use protective gear, careless steering, poor maintenance, and faulty manufacturing from third parties.
  • The company also faces legal and political hurdles that limit where and how it can deploy scooters and bikes.
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Electric scooters and bicycles present a range of potential problems for Uber, the company said in the prospectus for its initial public offering (IPO), which was released on Thursday.

Uber’s “personal mobility” vehicles present different challenges than those posed by its ride-hailing, delivery, and logistics services, the company said. Risks include rider incompetence, failure to use protective gear, careless steering, poor maintenance, and faulty manufacturing from third parties. Uber says injuries to bike or scooter riders could be worse than those to ride-hailing passengers.


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“Incorporating dockless e-bikes and e-scooters into our platform will result in increased costs and liability,” Uber said.

The company also faces legal and political hurdles that limit where and how it can deploy scooters and bikes. Cities such as Austin and San Francisco restrict the number of dockless bikes and scooters a company can offer, and some cities ban them entirely. The company said that in some cities, like Fort Lauderdale, Florida, it has not been able to obtain the necessary permits for electric scooters and bikes.

“Our inability to expand our dockless e-bikes and e-scooters could harm our business, financial condition, and operating results,” Uber said.

Uber’s IPO is one of the most highly-anticipated in recent years. Lyft, one of the company’s biggest competitors, went public at a valuation of over $US24 billion on March 29.

Uber did not reveal its projected share price, though the high demand for Lyft’s offering raises the possibility that Uber’s public valuation could exceed that of prior fundraising rounds. The Wall Street Journal reported in 2018 that Uber’s public valuation could reach $US120 billion, well above its most recent valuation, $US72 billion.

Uber is expected to begin meeting with potential investors in April and list its shares on public markets in May, according to Bloomberg.

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