LOWER MANHATTAN (PIX11) — The New York City Council will vote Thursday on a package of proposals aimed at preventing e-bike battery fires, as the destructive and potentially deadly scourge continues to upend New Yorkers’ lives.
The bills would require that all e-bike batteries used in the city be certified, prohibit the use of refurbished batteries, and provide for education about the potential dangers of battery use.
The vote comes less than a week after FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh spoke out on what she called “incredibly dangerous devices.”
As of Kavanagh’s Feb. 24 briefing, the batteries had already been blamed for 22 fires citywide this year, four times the number of similar blazes to the same date in 2022. Those 22 fires have resulted in 36 injuries and two deaths.
The battery fires are so dangerous because they can erupt suddenly and, since people often charge up near the doors of their homes, flames can cut off their escape paths, officials said.
The FDNY and the New York City Sheriff’s Office recently started a crackdown targeting unregulated battery repair shops and illegal charging locations. If passed, Thursday’s proposals would offer new avenues to head off potential disasters before they occur.