By Emma Epperly / The Spokesman-Review
A woman riding a Lime scooter in downtown Spokane last week had an accident that left her with a broken jaw and arm.
Jacquie Bigelow and her husband Art were having a date night on Friday, Aug. 9, and decided to ride Lime scooters near West Sprague Avenue and Browne Street.
They had gone half a block, with Art riding in front of his wife, when he looked back andsaw her fall.
“She just kind of bucked forward a little bit,” he said.
Jacquie hit her head on the handlebars and then came forward over the scooter, Art said.
“It just stopped,” Art said. “It was like she hit a brick wall and all of a sudden came forward.”
Several people ran up to help. Some were nursing students who encouraged the couple to call an ambulance.
“We realized it was kind of a severe injury,” Art said.
Jacquie was transported to the hospital and underwent surgery. Her jaw was broken in four places and is wired shut. Her arm was broken above the elbow.
Art said he and his wife felt it was important to come forward and tell their story to highlight what they see as a defect in the Lime scooters..
“Our whole intent in the beginning was to let people know about a possible defect,” Art said. “Somehow the brake component was messed up.”
Since Lime scooters were reintroduced to Spokane in May, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center has taken an unofficial tally of accidents.
“It’s not an exact science,” said Jennifer Semenza, communication manager at Sacred Heart. “It’s just something that we are keeping a sort of informal tally on.”
Sacred Heart has recorded 25 Lime scooter accidents and one Lime bike accident.
“Our thoughts remain with the rider involved. We have been in contact to offer support and understand what happened, and we wish her a quick recovery,” said a Lime spokesperson.
The company says they have looked into the situation and claims they work around the clock to make sure the fleet is maintained.
Back in February, Lime did acknowledge a bug in the scooter fleet that “under rare circumstances could cause sudden excessive braking during use,” according to a statement on the company’s website.
The issue was limited to a very small number of Lime scooters, and accidents mainly occurred while riders were going at top speed and hit an obstacle like a pothole, according to the statement.
The company released software updates to fix the glitch, the statement said.
For the Bigelows, sharing their story has brought blowback, said Art.
“A lot of people have missed the point,” he said. He said he and his wife believe the problem that caused Jacquie’s crash is “a potential mechanical defect or a fail in the system.”
Both Lime and the Bigelows say they have been in contact, and that the couple is happy with how the company has handled the incident so far.
The couple has no plans to sue the company, but said they may file an insurance claim.
“So far, from what we’ve seen, they’ve actually been really nice about it,” Art said. “In our eyes, they’re doing their part right now.”
Jacquie’s injuries have had a huge impact on the couple’s family. A stay-at-home mom with seven children, she was planning to go back to school this fall to study nutritional science.
“This is definitely affecting her pretty bad, with the pain,” Art said. “We’re doing what we can to get her on the healing path.”