The National Fire Chiefs Council (NFCC) has backed charity Electrical Safety First’s (ESF) Safety Bill which seeks to improve the safety standards of e-bike and e-scooter batteries.
ESF has proposed legislation that would:
- Require e-bikes, e-scooters and their batteries to have third-party approval before going on sale
- Impose a temporary ban on ‘universal’ chargers
- Introduce clearer warnings on lithium-ion batteries
Posting on LinkedIn, the NFCC said it supported the bill, writing: “With the alarming rise in deaths and injuries resulting from fires and explosions caused by e-scooter and e-bike batteries, support is needed to put a stop to this dangerous trend.”
NFCC chair Mark Hardingham said: “These incidents can result in explosions, toxic gases and catastrophic fires which not only put people at significant risk, but are a real challenge for firefighters.
“It's not enough for fire services to advise people to charge these products safely - we must ensure the products in their home are as safe as they can be. We are urging an MP to adopt the Bill that would introduce much-needed measures to improve safety.”
London Fire Brigade (LFB) had already fought 104 e-bike fires and 19 e-scooter blazes by the end of August this year, overtaking the 116 total fires attended last year. This is also higher than any other year in the capital.
Fiona Twycross, deputy mayor for fire and resilience, said the rising number of e-bike and e-scooter fires demonstrates the need for them to be stored and charged safely, as well as being built to required standards.
And last week, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) issued an ‘Important Safety Message’ aimed at those looking at buying an e-bike or e-scooter, with much of the focus on lithium-ion batteries.
The steps recommended by the OPSS include only buying from a known seller, always following the manufacturer’s instructions, only using the manufacturer’s recommended battery or charger, always charging in a safe place, and never attempting to modify or tamper with a battery.
For more information about e-bike safety, read our guide to what to avoid when buying an e-bike, battery or charger.
We've also looked at the specific dangers in more detail in our article Are e-bike batteries safe? What’s the difference between a safe battery and a fire risk?