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Peloton goes into damage limitation mode: Company issues new digital ‘lock’ for its treadmills

Peloton has released a software fix for its treadmills after the recall of all 125,000 machines following dozens of injuries and one child’s death.

Customers are now able use a four digit code to unlock the $4,295 Tread+. The machines will also lock after 45 seconds not being used. Users will be asked to update their software the next time they next log, the company said Tuesday. 

In a post on its site Peloton describes the new ‘Tread Lock’ feature as ‘safety feature that automatically locks the Peloton Tread+ after you put your Tread+ to sleep or after 45 seconds of inactivity outside of a class’. 

It adds: ‘You will then have to enter your Tread Lock passcode to unlock the belt and get moving.

‘Please note that even if you are in a class, the belt on your Peloton Tread+ will come to a stop if it has been set to a speed above 0 mph and it does not detect a person running.’ 

The fix will apply to the cheaper $2,495 Tread by the end of June. That machine had not yet gone on sale in the US. Neither tread is currently on sale. 

Peloton has released a software fix for its treadmills following a recall of all 125,000 machines which sent stocks tumbling. The machine was linked to the death of one child and the injuries of 70 others, including a different youngster who was sucked under one but survived, pictured

Customers are now able use a four digit code to unlock the $4,295 Tread+. The machines will also lock after 45 seconds not being used

Customers are now able use a four digit code to unlock the $4,295 Tread+. The machines will also lock after 45 seconds not being used

Peloton’s CEO John Foley had already described how users will have to use a key code to start the machines during an interview with Good Morning America. 

‘You’re not going to be able to start it unless you can enter a key code like your phone so your two or three-year-old cant start it,’ he said. 

A string of accidents had prompted the the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a recall on the machines earlier this month. Since it was a voluntary recall some users are opting to keep their treadmills and use the new safety device. 

It is thought the issue will result in around $165 million revenue losses for the company during the current quarter. The recall also caused stocks to tumble; it sat slightly down at around $95 as of Wednesday afternoon.  

It is thought the issue will result in around $165 million revenue losses during the current quarter

It is thought the issue will result in around $165 million revenue losses during the current quarter

The recall caused stocks to tumble; it sat slightly down at around $95 as of Wednesday afternoon

The recall caused stocks to tumble; it sat slightly down at around $95 as of Wednesday afternoon

CEO Foley admitted earlier this month that it was a mistake not to recall their treadmills sooner.   

He said: ‘We did make a mistake by not engaging earlier in the process. [The] most important thing is the safety of our members’.    

Explaining the potential design flaws of the Tread+, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) highlighted the individual rubberized slats which make up its running surface, rather than the single rubber running band found on most rivals.

The Tread+ also sits higher off the ground than other treadmills, and lacks a rear guard. That makes it easier for people, pets or objects to get sucked underneath it and stuck there.  

The machine was linked to the death of one child and the injuries of 70 others, including a different youngster who was sucked under one but survived. 

That prompted the the Consumer Product Safety Commission to issue a safety warning about the machines in April but Peloton refused to recall them. 

It finally agreed earlier this month.  

One runner had described the moment her Peloton treadmill threw her into wall and ripped off her skin after she lost her footing.

Cary Kelly says she fell facedown on the Tread+ May 2019, becoming trapped between a wall and the machine and leaving her with burns and bone fractures.

The marathon runner told Business Insider: ‘It seemed like a million minutes, like I was there forever. I’m very, very lucky that my arm didn’t get sucked under.’  

Kelly says she was not wearing a security clip that comes with the Tread+ as recommended – but thinks the company could do more to communicate the safety procedures needed.

Brandon Ratliffe, had told Good Morning America that his six-year-old daughter suffered severe abrasions to her legs after she was sucked under the family's Tread+

Brandon Ratliffe, had told Good Morning America that his six-year-old daughter suffered severe abrasions to her legs after she was sucked under the family’s Tread+

He shared photos of his daughter, Jocelyn, that showed bruising and severe scrapes on her legs. Jocelyn was dragged under the device feet-first, her dad said

He shared photos of his daughter, Jocelyn, that showed bruising and severe scrapes on her legs. Jocelyn was dragged under the device feet-first, her dad said

A father, Brandon Ratliffe, had told Good Morning America that his six-year-old daughter suffered severe abrasions to her legs after she was sucked under the family’s Tread+.

He shared photos of his daughter, Jocelyn, that showed bruising and severe scrapes on her legs. Jocelyn was dragged under the device feet-first, her dad said.

And one former employee told Insider: ‘There’s some stuff that I’ve had to troubleshoot for members personally, which led me to believe that this thing should not be used by anyone at all.’

The company had said that there’s no reason to stop using the treadmill as long as children and pets are kept away from it at all times, it is turned off when not in use, and a safety key is removed.

In a post on its site Peloton describes the new 'Tread Lock' feature as 'safety feature that automatically locks the Peloton Tread+ after you put your Tread+ to sleep or after 45 seconds of inactivity outside of a class'

In a post on its site Peloton describes the new ‘Tread Lock’ feature as ‘safety feature that automatically locks the Peloton Tread+ after you put your Tread+ to sleep or after 45 seconds of inactivity outside of a class’

The company, best known for its stationary bikes, has seen its sales explode during the pandemic as virus-wary people have avoided gyms and worked out at home

The company, best known for its stationary bikes, has seen its sales explode during the pandemic as virus-wary people have avoided gyms and worked out at home

But the safety commission said that in at least one episode, a child was pulled under the treadmill while a parent was running on it, suggesting it can be dangerous to children even while a parent is present.

The company, best known for its stationary bikes, has seen its sales explode during the pandemic as virus-wary people have avoided gyms and worked out at home.  

Treadmills account for around 12 per cent of Peleton’s revenue, with the bulk of their cash coming from its stationary bikes, and subscriptions to online exercise classes.  

The company estimates about 10 per cent of the recalled treadmills will be returned between now and the end of June, but said others may be returned later since people have until November of next year to get a full refund. 


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