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Council member's bill would ban e-bikes, e-scooters in NYC

Published January 26, 2023

NEW YORK (BRAIN) — A New York City council member introduced legislation a week ago to ban e-bikes and e-scooters until they can be made safer and called for them to be treated like motor vehicles.

The bill, put forth by Robert Holden on Jan. 19, would repeal the 2020 law that made e-bikes and e-scooters legal in the city and calls for a $500 fine. It would not include electric wheelchairs or other mobility devices designed for those with disabilities.

"Enough is enough! ... We need Albany (New York) to require that they are registered, insured, licensed, and safe to operate, charge and store, before we allow them to be used again," Holden posted on Facebook on Thursday. Holden represents Queens' 30th District.

Lithium-ion battery fire safety has become a serious topic for the city after incidents have steadily risen in the past few years. Through mid-November last year, FDNY said there were 191 fires and 140 injuries and six deaths from lithium-ion fires in the city.

During a November meeting, Councilwoman Joann Ariola, chair of the Committee on Fire and Emergency Management, said the city was on track to more than double the number of lithium-ion battery-related fires from last year and quadruple the number from 2020. The number of fires attributed to lithium-ion batteries for 2022 has not been released.

The City Council began discussing five proposed bills in November to address lithium-ion battery fire safety in response to the outbreak of incidents. New York fire officials have said they agree with the bills, including requiring mobility device batteries to be listed and labeled by a nationally recognized testing laboratory or other approved organization in order to be sold.

Heather Mason, president of the National Bicycle Dealers Association, told BRAIN last week that she was meeting with New York city officials to discuss battery safety. She said a panel of city bicycle retailers might be formed to advise the council if it proposes safety measure such as offsite fire-safe storage for e-bikes and batteries. "We want to work closely with the city so they can come up with solutions that are feasible for retailers," Mason said. 

Topics associated with this article: Electric bike

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