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A new e-bike or e-scooter for Christmas? Make sure you #ChargeSafe, writes Assistant Commissioner Charlie Pugsley
22 December 2023, 11:22
They’re a green and sustainable way to get around London and growing more and more in popularity.
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But unfortunately, e-bikes and e-scooters are a growing fire risk in London. In fact, it’s become the fastest-growing fire trend in the capital over the past year with around 180 fires. Sadly, three people have died and dozens of people have been hurt.
Like with any electrical products, e-bikes and e-scooters can be safe if they are used correctly – but failing to follow crucial safety advice risks the chance of the lithium batteries that power these vehicles exploding and causing ferocious fires.
One of the most important things you can do from the get-go is to make sure you’re buying from a reputable seller whether it's an e-bike or e-scooter, or the parts for them such as batteries, chargers and conversion kits.
Check that the supplier is based in the UK and look out for a UKCA or CE marking so you know it meets safety standards. Be extremely careful buying from an online marketplace, because at this time there isn’t the same level of regulation compared to high street shops, so we can’t be confident the product meets the correct safety standard.
If you got an e-bike or e-scooter for Christmas, or you already own one, there are some vital safety steps that we’d ask you to follow.
We’re often seeing fires when the battery pack that powers the e-bikes and e-scooters is being charged. You must use the correct charger for the battery and avoid purchasing batteries or chargers second-hand.
Don’t overcharge the battery and never leave it charging unattended or whilst your sleeping – this means you will have time to react in the event of a fire. Modifying or tampering with the batteries also increases the risk of fire.
We’d advise anyone to store or charge the vehicle outside but if you can’t, don’t store or charge the vehicle in a hallway, corridor or other location that may block your escape route.
If an e-bike or e-scooter catches fire in an escape route, you’re reducing the chance of yourself, those you live with and potentially even neighbours from getting to safety.
People have been forced to jump from windows because their escape route has been blocked for example by a burning e-bike. Instead, keep the vehicle inside a room and away from the door, where a fire can be contained.
We’ve got plenty more advice on how to use e-bikes and e-scooters safely by visiting our website and searching for #ChargeSafe.