New York cracks down on e-bike fires

As e-bike fires continue to be a global issue, New York is cracking down on their use to prevent future fires. The decision comes after a 67-year-old woman died from her injuries as a result of a fire from a faulty e-bike battery in her Brooklyn apartment.

The lithium-based battery sparked up and spread amidst other batteries in the off-the-books repair shop, in the tightly packed apartment block.

“It only takes one”, said Chief Fire Marshal Daniel Flynn, “We’ve seen this several times throughout the city where people have these makeshift repair facilities in private dwellings.”

Following this, fire marshals took action to begin the seizure of “imported devices at the ports that fail minimum industry standards”, suggesting that it is the transit or sourcing of lithium-ion batteries produced for sale alongside products such as e-bikes, that are the particular batteries that cause these complex fires.

As of February 13th, fires resulting in 36 injuries in New York City alone have been attributed to faulty e-bike batteries that explode while being charged, causing fast-moving fires that spread across busy buildings and prove extremely difficult to stop. In October last year the NFPA issued fire safety advice for electric bikes and scooters following a worrying growth in e-bike fires.

E-bikes and similar technologies are beginning to be circulated around the world – it only takes one lithium-based battery in one of these shops to create a potentially disastrous fire. Regulation and fire-safety checks must come into play with all establishments around the world looking to invest in the sale or repair of technologies with lithium-ion based batteries.

In major, condensed cities around the world, such as many within Africa, a single fire can be exceptionally hazardous and can bring down building blocks housing hundreds.

In South Africa, e-bikes were first brought into road legislation in 2020.

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