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London Fire Brigade backs petition calling for regulation around e-bikes

The London Brigade have announced that they are backing a petition from the friends and family of 21-year-old Londoner Sofia Duarte who died in a fire caused by the failure of a lithium battery being used to charge an e-bike.

The petition, which was created by Sofia by Sofia’s mother, Maria Frasquilho Macarrocalls and family friend Alda Simoes calls  for urgent action from the Government to implement regulations on e-bikes, e-scooters, and the batteries and chargers sold with them.  

Alda and Maria are asking for:

  • An immediate commitment from the Government to prioritise fire safety within any new standards, regulations, or frameworks relating to e-scooters and e-bikes.
  • Enforce quality control and standards governing the sale of the lithium-ion batteries and chargers (and conversion kits) for electric-powered personal vehicles. People are unknowingly purchasing unsafe batteries and chargers.
  • Provide clear guidelines for proper handling and storage of these  batteries.
  • Urgent research is needed to fully understand the dangers of conversion kits for e-bikes, batteries and chargers and inform the introduction of specific product safety standards.
  • Legislation brought forward that gives TFL and other transport authorities across the UK, the power to regulate the use of e-bikes and e-scooters (should they be legalised after trials have finished).

The Brigade’s Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: ‘We’re warning people that cheaper parts bought online are more likely to be unsafe, increasing the risk of a fire. We always recommend purchasing items from a reputable high-street seller. If there’s an offer that seems too good to be true, it probably is. It’s also essential to use the correct charger for the battery, otherwise the risk of fire is much greater.

‘The Office for Product Safety and Standards are undertaking research into e-bike fires, but the outcomes from this research need to be released as soon as possible. Conversion kits for e-bikes are a real area of concern for us and there is a need to understand the safety of the product, and whether any specific standards need to be introduced. Along with conversion kits, batteries and chargers also require much-needed legislation to ensure these products are more strictly regulated.’

Set up last month, the petition (here) has already attracted over 32,000 signatures.

 

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