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Scott Peden, who lost his family in an e-bike fire, backs calls for independent third-party certification

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Rebecca Morley's picture

Rebecca Morley

Rebecca has been in cycling journalism since 2018. She started out at trade title BikeBiz and still contributes features to its monthly magazine, and was also named one of Cycling UK's 100 Women in Cycling 2019.

4 comments

1 month 1 week ago

I do wonder how much of this is motivated by a need, on a psychological level, to find a place for the blame. In the Guardian report we are told, "Peden has not spoken to Gemma’s family since the funeral and says they are unlikely ever to forgive him." That seems an odd stance, unless perhaps they had warned him of the dangers and he had brushed them aside.

As others have said, no amount of regulation helps when ypu can always buy unregulated gear on the Internet, for cheap.

1 month 1 week ago

I'm not aware of a reason the industry needs more than the standards already available (EN15194:2023). Perhaps those standards need to be enforced better where these cheap imports are concerned. Independent verification can do that but as HoarseMann says, you can still buy online direct and bypass all that. So enforcement of existing regulations means resources to investigate and prosecute, not just charging brands who already do the right testing for an extra mark or certificate.

1 month 1 week ago

Reputable manufacturers and resellers are perfectly able to self-certify the safety of their products. It's the grey imports and secondhand market where the danger is. Regulating these online marketplaces is very difficult - how can you ensure a secondhand battery / e-bike / e-scooter is safe and has not been poorly repaired? MOT style inspections? Make it illegal to work on lithium battery vehicles without training (bit like Gas Safe engineers are only allowed to work on gas boilers)? I do think something needs to be done, but it's perhaps more than 3rd party design certification.

1 month 1 week ago

Utterly tragic and the recount of it is horrendous. 
Something has to happen at the very top. Legislated for control at point of entry and proper honest PSA. My local council published info on socials and in their magazine. I challenged it as being unhlelpful. 
The first issue is its indiscriminate and suggests all ebikes are a risk, So far there is no evidence of an ebike fire from any of the big brands that hasn't been tampered with secondly to only buy from a reputable source, the main channel for the cheap e-bikes and conversions is Ebay and Amazon so people will believe its reputable. The batteries and kits usually carry all the correct sounding labelling so it appears safe and uk legal. 
Theres a socio-economic issue at play too, when we consider big users of these and the illegal conversions are food delivery riders. We can't blame them, who wouldn't want to get some assistance to get around in all weathers, when your getting paid about 90p to deliver someones food they've paid a minimum wage employee to produce - because society is too lazy to leave the house for food made by someone else!

Theres a trade off somewhere and unfortunately it will be that we in the trade refuse to work on them and they'll end up in landfill with waste handling being required to have specialist equipment. The liability is too great to even carry out a puncture repair - you will have been the last person to touch the bike mechanically. 
It may become a specialist area but one thats out of reach of the average workshop. Before even considering the cost of insurance it would cost me over £7500 to be able to safely take on the work. I only take on bikes from big brands with proper UK support and if theres any chance of a damaged battery the customer removes it from the bike.