Have you seen a rise in the number of e-bikes in your neighborhood?
All over the city, fires have occurred in Forest Hills, Sunset Park, Corona, Sunnyside, Brownsville, Lower East Side, Brooklyn Heights, and Bushwick due to these e-bikes.
With new lithium battery legislation, that’s about to change.
Mayor Eric Adams announced more action in response to the city’s growing fires brought on by micro-mobility devices. This is in addition to approving the lithium-ion battery safety legislative package that the City Council earlier this month authorized.
E-bikes, other devices, and batteries that don’t meet established certification standards like UL are among the items that will be illegal to sell. At the law’s 180-day passage and eventual enactment, it will take effect.
Sellers who fail to comply risk a one-time civil penalty of $0 and subsequent fines of up to $1,000.
An e-bike must be certified to UL 2849. A standard that covers the entire electrical system of an e-bike. The battery, charger, or motor must be present for a vehicle to be sold, rented, or leased in New York City.
All lithium-ion batteries sold separately must comply with UL 2271, and powered mobility devices must fulfill UL 2272. The FDNY has said it will think about issuing more safety regulations of a such nature.
Adams stated that the city will:
Organize a task force of fire marshals to look for people who are breaking the rules. Data will be used by the task force to identify potential offenders. This will be targeted for outreach and inspection for compliance with current fire standards.
Continue to push the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and other federal partners to make sure that the products adhere to the relevant safety regulations. Along with local, state, and federal partners, they look into the health impacts of handling lithium-ion batteries by first responders in more detail.
Outside micro-mobility storage is also recommended by Adams’ “Charge Safe, Ride Safe” concept. Including charging options at buildings owned by the New York City Housing Authority. Working with New York State to implement a program that encourages the purchase of safe and legal electric micro-mobility devices. To help with these efforts, a grant application must be given.
The additional laws that were approved include:
- Restricting the commercial sale and assembly of lithium-ion batteries made from cells taken from old batteries.
- The FDNY would have to confer with the Department of Consumer and Labor Protection in order to create a public education campaign on the dangers of e-bikes and e-scooters catching fire (DCWP).
- Requiring the FDNY to provide five reports on the fire dangers posed by powered mobility devices. These reports would contain information on the device-related fires, the FDNY’s risk-reduction efforts, and suggestions for additional risk reduction.
- Requiring the DCWP to create and distribute instructional materials on the dangers of e-bikes. Including how to mitigate them for the delivery personnel. It would be necessary for third-party delivery services like Seamless and UberEats to give these materials to their delivery personnel.
There were 44 lithium-ion fires in 2020; by 2022, there were 220.
Fires that occurred in 2021 and 2022, caused 226 injuries and 10 fatalities. They caused two fatalities and forty injuries in the first two months of this year.