(Zero Hedge)—Electric bicycles were responsible for a record number of fires, injuries and deaths in New York City last year.
In total, e-bikes caused 267 fires, causing 18 deaths and 150 injuries in the city, the New York Fire Department (FDNY) told Fox News, which notes that the figures represent the highest levels of each statistic – with deaths jumping 200% and fires increasing 21% over last year.
“As we rely more and more on micromobility vehicles to earn a living in our daily lives, we increase the risk of fires caused by lithium-ion batteries. And as mentioned, we had over 100 deaths in this city alone on these batteries,” said Mayor Eric Adams (D) during an e-bike safety event last year.
When we tell you unregulated, illegal lithium-ion batteries are a hazard, WE MEAN IT. FDNY Fire Inspectors continue to check e-bike & e-scooter shops to ensure compliance, but many of devices & batteries are in private homes. They’re ticking time bombs, just watch our new PSA. pic.twitter.com/Y4Pl2grR80
— FDNY (@FDNY) January 16, 2024
“And one of the problems that we’ve noticed, when you look at those taped-up batteries, you see that they are refurbished,” he continued. “These shops are going inside attempting to refurbish the batteries and do it their own way. This is a safety issue.”
Amid the uptick in e-bike fires and deaths, New York City leaders led by Adams and FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh — who said last year that e-bikes are “incredibly dangerous devices” and called for additional regulation — have spearheaded a public education campaign about the dangers of the device and pushed policies to ensure safety.
In March 2023, Adams unveiled the city’s Charge Safe, Ride Safe plan to prevent further harmful e-bike incidents. Then, months later, he announced the city had been awarded $25 million in federal funding to install 173 outdoor e-bike charging stations. In December, Adams said his administration would soon launch a battery-charging pilot program for delivery workers. -Fox News
“We know these fires can cause serious injury, and even death. We are grateful to our partners in city government for their out-of-the-box thinking on how we can embrace this new technology while also protecting lives,” said Kavanaugh.
Meanwhile, NYC has passed several laws to regulate lithium-ion batteries sold within city limits, and has implemented a policy to expedite investigations into the dangers. Last June, NY AG Letitia James warned of “significant risks” associated with e-bikes.
WOAH! An e-bike battery caused an abrupt explosion, with the bike bursting into flames shortly after the owner noticed an odd smell and put it outside, as seen in a video released by the London Fire Brigade. pic.twitter.com/xMuaLvunc1
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) May 26, 2023
Earlier this month, an e-bike battery exploded in a Queens bike store, resulting in a two-alarm fire. The incident came just days after another e-bike battery fire caused an explosion in a public housing complex in the Bronx, resulting in one death and injuring six others.