As consumers continue to grapple with environmental concerns and pandemic-induced lifestyle changes, electric bikes (e-bikes) are seeing a boom in popularity. However, the dramatic increase in e-bike usage has coincided with a disturbing rise in electric bike accidents, primarily due to faulty batteries sparking fires.
The tragedy fires bring to families is indescribable, and the more we can learn about e-bikes and how to store them properly, the better off our communities will be. E-bikes are micro-mobility devices like e-scooters, self-balancing scooters (hoverboards), and e-unicycles. The idea of conveniently traveling at your leisure without burning fossil fuels is an excellent concept.
In this article, Deldar Legal takes you through the risks of owning e-bikes and what keeps contributing to the recent increase in e-bike fires.
Data On Electric Bike Accidents & Fires
According to the Light Electric Vehicle Association, the U.S. saw a significant surge in e-bike imports, recording 880,000 in 2021 and surpassing one million in 2022. This growth, fueled by consumers seeking sustainable and cost-effective transportation alternatives to fossil fuels, has led to a sobering safety concern: a surge in electric bike accidents, specifically fires caused by faulty batteries.
Between January 2021 and November 2022, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reported 208 micromobility fires or overheating incidents across 39 states. These electric bike accidents resulted in a tragic total of 19 fatalities, underscoring the potential risks associated with these popular devices.
In New York City, 2023 has been a troubling year for electric bike accidents, causing several fires. The FDNY says 66 fires were started by Lithium-ion batteries, unfortunately leading to five fatalities. This unpleasant trend forced Mayor Eric Adams and city officials to implement a new program called “Charge Safe, Ride Safe,” an action plan to limit e-bike fire risks.
Lithium-Ion Batteries Inside E-Bikes
The primary culprit behind these fires is the Lithium-ion batteries used to power e-bikes. These batteries, also found in laptops, cellphones, power tools, and electric vehicles, have the potential to become highly flammable due to the substantial amount of energy they store in small volumes.
While the benefits of Lithium-ion batteries—namely their compact size and energy density—make them a staple in portable electronics and electric vehicles, these attributes contribute to their potential risk. If these batteries malfunction, are improperly handled or sustain damage, they can generate intense heat and potentially ignite.
Further adding to the concern, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) reported 74 incidents of smoke, fire, or extreme heat caused by Lithium-ion batteries on airplanes in 2022. This string of incidents is a stark reminder of the potential hazards associated with these batteries, highlighting their volatility when not adequately managed and maintained.
Future Of E-Bikes & Sustainability
Many Americans continue to invest in e-bikes for their size, cost-efficiency, and environmental friendliness. With no reliance on gas, e-bikes represent a long-term cost-saving habit and a method to reduce carbon emissions. However, as consumers, it’s essential to be aware of the risks associated with these devices.
These escalating figures of electric bike accidents necessitate an urgent call to action. Manufacturers must place safety at the forefront of e-bike design, ensuring that batteries are rigorously tested and meet stringent safety standards. Furthermore, consumers should be educated on proper battery handling, maintenance, and storage to mitigate fire risks.
While the shift towards greener and more sustainable transportation methods such as e-bikes is a commendable trend, this transition cannot compromise safety. As e-bike usage continues to rise, our collective responsibility is to ensure that these devices can be utilized securely, minimizing the risk of electric bike accidents.
As a top-rated personal injury law firm, Deldar Legal has the experience and resources to represent clients in complex litigation involving product liability effectively. We can assist in numerous ways if you’ve suffered an injury or property damage due to an e-bike fire. Call our office at (844)335-3271 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation today!
Posted in: Bicycle Accidents