NEW YORK (PIX11) – Deadly fires caused by electric bikes and scooters are on the rise, city leaders said, and they plan to crack down on how people will be able to purchase and use them.
City Council is expected to vote on establishing a first-of-its-kind e-bike battery swap program to remove uncertified lithium-ion batteries from circulation and reduce fires caused by them.
The devices and batteries would be provided at reduced or no cost and available in exchange for the surrender of the bikes that do not comply with fire standards or are otherwise illegal. According to City Council records, lithium-ion batteries can overheat, malfunction and explode.
There were 154 battery-related fires that killed 14 people and injured 93 others as of August 2023 in New York City alone, officials said.
Councilmembers also passed a package of bills several months ago, including laws that prohibit the sale of uncertified batteries and e-bikes and require public education efforts on battery safety.
The new law does not apply to devices bought or leased outside the city.
New York is set to become the first city in the country to regulate the safety of e-bikes and e-scooters. The new laws go into effect Saturday.