Published: 03/11/2023 By Allan Fuller
By the end of August, crews had fought 104 e-bike fires along with 19 e-scooter blazes, overtaking the 116 total fires attended last year, and higher than in any other year in London.
Sadly, three people this year have lost their lives in fires believed to have been caused by a failure of an e-bike's lithium battery, while 51 people have been injured. A coroner has now written to the Office for Product Standards and Safety (OPSS) asking for further safety standards to be introduced following the death of a man in an e-bike fire in March.
E-bikes and e-scooters can catch fire incredibly quickly if their lithium batteries become damaged or begin to fail. Privately owned e-scooters remain illegal in public places and on London’s roads, but they are not illegal to purchase. London Fire Brigade continue to support the police’s enforcement activity to prevent them being used in a dangerous manner.
London Fire Brigade has been running its #ChargeSafe campaign to raise awareness of the fire risks and outline what Londoners can do to protect themselves and their livelihoods. The most recent incident saw a man taken to hospital suffering from burns after an e-bike fire in Brixton.
Senior London fire officials have called for regulations and/or standards to be introduced for e-bikes, conversion kits, batteries, and chargers, as well as surveillance of online marketplaces, where products are being sold that may not meet the correct safety standards.
In New York, the City Council is set to introduce new laws prohibiting the sale, lease, or rental of e-bikes and e-scooters, and storage batteries for these devices, that fail to meet recognized safety standards.