E-Bike and E-Scooter Safety

The popularity of electric bikes and electric scooters (e-bikes and e-scooters) has taken off over the past few years. Lithium-ion batteries are usually the source of power for both, and if not used correctly, or if damaged, those batteries can catch on fire or explode. Whether you use e-bikes or e-scooters as your main way of getting around, or just for fun, there are important safety tips to keep in mind when charging or storing these devices.

E-Bike and E-Scooter Safety by the National Fire Protection Association

E-Bikes are very popular in New York City and consequently they have seen more bike caused fires than anywhere else. With over 200 fires and 11 deaths in the first 6 months of 2023 the New York City Fire Department has issued an emergency bulletin, tiled "WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT E-BIKE FIRE SAFETY," which urges New Yorkers to:

  • Only buy e-bikes and other mobility devices that are certified by nationally recognized testing labs that have symbols including UL", ETl " and "CSA." The laboratories test these products to make sure they meet industry standards and are safe to operate under normal circumstances.
  • Only use the original battery, power adapter and power cord that comes with the e-bike, or a manufacturer recommended or lab-certified replacement.
  • NEVER use unapproved batteries/chargers, even if they are much less expensive. WHY? Unapproved batteries or chargers may not be designed to work with an e-bike or e-bike battery. RESULT: An unapproved battery may overcharge, overheat and catch on fire.
  • Plug the e-bike directly into an electrical wall outlet when charging and "NEVER charge an e-bike or e-bike battery with an extension cord or power strip. WHY? lithium-ion battery charging requires a lot of electrical current, more than most extension cords and power strips can handle. RESULT: The extension cord or power cord can overheat and cause a fire.
  • Store e-bike chargers and batteries in a safe facility and not in your apartment, if possible because they lack sprinkler systems and there are too many flammable furnishings and household goods, such as drapes and papers.
  • NEVER charge the battery overnight or when you are not in the apartment.