Electric bike and scooter safety is a growing concern, as evidenced by the National Fire Chiefs Council recently backing a call for batteries to require third-party approval before going on sale. The Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) has now issued an ‘Important Safety Message’ aimed at those looking at buying an e-bike or e-scooter.
The safety message, aimed at e-bike and e-scooter buyers and owners, highlights a series of steps recommended by the OPSS.
Much of the focus is of course on lithium-ion batteries. If not properly looked after, or manufactured to certain safety standards, they can cause fires.
The steps recommended by the OPSS are as follows:
Step 1: RESEARCH – only BUY an e-bike, e-scooter, charger or battery from a known seller and check any product reviews
Step 2: READ – always READ and FOLLOW the manufacturer’s instructions for charging and using e-bikes or e-scooters
Step 3: CHECK – not all e-bike or e-scooter batteries and chargers are compatible or safe when used together. Check and only USE the manufacturer’s recommended battery or charger
Step 4: CHARGE – always charge in a safe place without blocking exits and always UNPLUG your charger when you have finished charging
Step 5: NEVER – attempt to modify or tamper with your battery.
To most users of electric scooters and bikes, there’s nothing new or out of the ordinary being suggested. But it is intended to raise awareness, particularly of batteries that aren’t being manufactured to appropriate standards.
Producing cheap and cheerful e-bike and e-scooter batteries is not illegal, and at present there is no standard that manufacturers need to meet to sell their batteries in the UK. This has resulted in calls to address e-bike fire safety concerns by campaign groups like Electrical Safety First as well as the Fire and Rescue services.
If you own an e-scooter or e-bike and have bought it from a reputable brand, and use it sensibly, then you likely have nothing to worry about. Lithium-ion batteries are used in many household devices and are highly unlikely to be a fire risk as long as precautions are taken.
If you want to learn more 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?