Jun 11, 2015 · 1 minute

Lyft -- with its fuzzy mustaches and its CEO who isn't Travis Kalanick -- has maintained a reputation as the friendlier, safer alternative to crosstown rival Uber. But that reputation may be in jeopardy now that multiple reports of assaults have been published.

GeekWire reported last week that a Seattle Lyft driver has been accused of dragging a woman alongside his car after she refused to have sex with him in exchange for the smartphone she had forgotten in his vehicle.

Police also said that a patrol car camera recorded a vehicle "similar to the suspect’s" driving "slowly past the woman’s home" as they recorded her allegations. Authorities are said to be working with Lyft as part of their efforts to identify the driver.

This isn't the first violent incident involving Lyft in Seattle. GeekWire reported last year that a rider, in what it described as a "fist bump gone wrong," broke a driver's nose for having the audacity to ask the passenger not to smoke in the car.

There was a time when troubling reports about ride-hailing startups focused largely on Uber. Whether it was assault, kidnapping, or stalking, the sleaziest unicorn in Silicon Valley was usually involved somehow.

Lyft avoided this issue. It's not clear if the service actually employed -- no, no, sorry, I mean contracted -- nicer drivers or if people who drove for several ride-hailing startups were called "Uber drivers" because it's a convenient shorthand.

But now that's changing. And it's worrisome that the ride-hailing service that doesn't threaten journalists or have a horrible reputation when it comes to outright sexism is being named in reports of drivers and riders assaulting each other.

Or perhaps it's more worrisome that these incidents occurred all along -- I'm told by someone at Lyft that the number of incidents hasn't increased over the last year. It's just that these incidents are being reported more than in the past.

The press has rightly criticized Uber for years, and Pando has been more critical than most, historically. But while we were going after that company, did we allow Lyft to hide behind its pink mustache, even as it suffered the same issues?