NEW YORK (PIX11) — E-bikes and e-scooters are woven into the fabric of life in New York City, but for how much longer is in question, especially as more people continue to die in fires sparked by the exploding lithium-ion batteries that power these devices.
Just two days after a 64-year-old man died in an apartment building fire in the Bronx sparked by a lithium-ion battery, Mayor Eric Adams signed into law Monday a package of bills aimed at regulating the devices.
“We need to go after those illegal lithium batteries. We like to call them the bootleg ones. When you look at some of the videos dealing with these fires, you get a full understanding. It’s actually an explosion. It stops your egress and endangers your entire family,” said Adams.
The five bills signed by Adams were sponsored by several New York City Council members. The legislation does the following:
- Prohibits the sale, lease or rental of e-bikes, e-scooters and batteries that fail to meet safety standards
- Prohibits the assembly or reconditioning of used lithium batteries
- Develops a public information campaign on lithium battery fire risks
- Requires the FDNY to submit annual reports on lithium battery-related fires
City Council member Bob Holden of Queens sponsored one of the bills.
“What’s the safest way to charge these batteries? Even if they’re UL listed. What type of charger should be used?” said Holden.
Freddy owns an e-bike shop in the Bronx, just a few blocks from this past weekend’s fatal fire. He said he discourages his customers from buying batteries online.
“You see what happens, right? Blow out. Fire,” said Freddy.
The former food delivery worker turned small business owner said he’s worried about what a future sales ban on e-bikes, e-scooters and lithium batteries would do to his business.
“That’s my life. You work, it’s everything,” said Freddy.