Lyft's app just got a major safety upgrade for bike and scooter rentals

  • Lyft and its subsidiary bike rental apps will now show bike lanes on a map, the company announced Thursday. 
  • It's a major safety upgrade for bikes and scooters as the ride-hailing company continues to invest in growing the service. 
  • Still, both Uber and Lyft have faced unique problems in the still-nascent micromobility space. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

If you've ever rented a bike or scooter on the Lyft app, you've probably encountered this conundrum: after unlocking the vehicle, it takes another app, like Google Maps, to then find an appropriate route.

No longer.

Lyft app bike lanesThe company announced Thursday that bike lanes would now be displayed inside its own app as well those of the 9 rental services it operates, like CitiBike, Capital Bikeshare, Divvy, and more.

It's only on iPhone for now, but Android is in the works, Lyft said. For now, the bike lanes will only show in places where bikes and scooters have been added to the core Lyft app, that's most everywhere except Boston and Portland. 

Lyft hopes that by showing all transportation options, riders might opt for a green bike or scooter ride over a gas-powered car for their trip. 

RELATED: Take a look at Lyft throughout the years: 

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Lyft through the years
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Lyft through the years
AUSTIN, TX - MARCH 11: Lyft van is seen during the 2016 SXSW Music, Film + Interactive Festival at Austin Convention Center on March 11, 2016 in Austin, Texas. (Photo by Hutton Supancic/Getty Images for SXSW)
An illuminated sign appears in a Lyft ride-hailing car in Los Angeles, California, U.S. September 21, 2017. Picture taken September 21, 2017. REUTERS/Chris Helgren
Recruiters for Lyft wait for the opening of a job fair in Golden, Colorado, June 7, 2017. REUTERS/Rick Wilking
Tariq Meyers, Head of Inclusion and Diversity, Lyft, speaks at the Wall Street Journal Digital conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S. October 18, 2017. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson
John Zimmer co-founder and president of Lyft speaks at WSJD Live conference in Laguna Beach, California, U.S., October 25, 2016. REUTERS/Mike Blake
Frankie Roeder, 28, hows his support as Lyft ride-sharing supporters rally at City Hall in Seattle, Washington, US, February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Jason Redmond/File photo
A smartphone app for Lyft drivers is seen during a photo opportunity in San Francisco, California February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JUNE 12: A Lyft car drives along Powell Street on June 12, 2014 in San Francisco, California. The California Public Utilities Commission is cracking down on ride sharing companies like Lyft, Uber and Sidecar by issuing a warning that they could lose their ability to operate within the state if they are caught dropping off or picking up passengers at airports in California. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Maya Jackson, a Lyft driver from Sacramento, holds a Lyft Glowstache during a photo opportunity in San Francisco, California February 3, 2016. REUTERS/Stephen Lam
A Lyft Inc. decal is displayed on a car window in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Lyft�Inc.�has gained significant ground on its rival,�Uber Technologies Inc., and is expected to grab more market share in the U.S., according to a private�Lyft�investor document obtained by Bloomberg. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A vehicle sits parked outside the Lyft Inc. driver hub in Los Angeles, California, U.S., on Monday, Nov. 13, 2017. Lyft�Inc.�has gained significant ground on its rival,�Uber Technologies Inc., and is expected to grab more market share in the U.S., according to a private�Lyft�investor document obtained by Bloomberg. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
NEW YORK, NY - MAY 16: A view of the Lyft booth during TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2017 - Day 2 at Pier 36 on May 16, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 17: A Lyft representative attends Beyond The Home during Airbnb Open LA - Day 1 on November 17, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for Airbnb)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 03: A Lyft driver navigates to her passenger on February 3, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Lyft)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - FEBRUARY 03: A Lyft driver is waiting for a ride in the city on February 3, 2016 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Lyft)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - JANUARY 27: A general view at the Lyft driver rally at Siren Studios on January 27, 2015 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Lyft)
The Lyft Inc. logo and application (app) is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5s and MacBook Air for an arranged photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Lyft Inc. is taking its ride-sharing service into New York this week and is abandoning its trademark pink mustaches in the process, taking on rival Uber Technologies Inc. in one of the biggest U.S. markets. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Lyft Inc. application (app) is demonstrated on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5s during a Lyft ride for an arranged photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Lyft Inc. is taking its ride-sharing service into New York this week and is abandoning its trademark pink mustaches in the process, taking on rival Uber Technologies Inc. in one of the biggest U.S. markets. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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"We believe that providing clear information about bike lanes in our app will encourage more people to choose two-wheeled transportation for their trip," Caroline Samponaro, Lyft's head of bike and scooter policy, said in a press release. "Each ride on a bike or scooter represents a win for the environment, congestion, and a more livable city -- and that's what Lyft is all about."

Read more: Lyft's main taxi business is already profitable in some areas, but self-driving cars and bike-sharing are eating into that revenue

Earlier this year, Lyft launched a small pilot program on one San Francisco street that automatically directed drivers to safe pickup and dropoff spots that were out of the bike lane and didn't impede traffic. The company says news on the pilot's expansion is coming soon.

Bikes, meanwhile, continue to show massive growth for Lyft. The company declined to disclose any ridership numbers to investors in quarterly earnings reports, but said last week that CitiBike in New York set a daily record of 92,341 rides. That system, the largest in Lyft's fleet, is set to grow over the next two years through its third and final expansion phase.

But that growth hasn't been without struggles, as the entire industry is learning.

Lyft pulled its electric bikes from New York, Washington DC, and San Francisco earlier this year after a brake malfunction sent some riders over the handlebars. When a rebranded version of the pedal-assist bike relaunched in San Francisco, fires forced the bikes offline once again.

Uber, which was using the same bikes at the time, said it was able to fix the brake problem, and its bikes are still active in many markets. However, the company has recently raised prices in some locations and pulled the bikes from others, including San Diego, Atlanta, Dallas, San Antonio, Staten Island, and Providence. Scooters will remain in some markets, and the company hopes to have bikes on the roads again in Providence this fall, it said.

Lyft officials have declined to comment on its expansion plans for bikes and scooters, but told analysts in August that more investment was on the way.

"Collectively, we expect our bike and scooter investments to keep Lyft top of mind and increase both active riders and revenue per active rider," CEO Logan Green said on the conference call. "In the long term, we are confident bikes and scooters will contribute to our bottom line."

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SEE ALSO: Lyft just got a step closer to bike-share domination. Here's why Uber and other competitors should be terrified.

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