Mayor Adams to sign bill approving e-bike trade-in program for NYC

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, September 29, 2023
Mayor Adams to sign e-bike trade-in program bill
Mayor Eric Adams is set to sign the e-bike trade-in program into law on Friday.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Eric Adams is expected to sign legislation that will hopefully cut down on fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.

The legislation would create the first city-run trade-in program for e-bikes and lithium-ion batteries.

People will be allowed to get new ones, that are certified, for free or at a discount.

New York City Council voted to establish the program earlier this month.

So far, there have been 175 fires related to lithium-ion batteries this year, killing 14 people. In June, a fire in an e-bike repair shop in Chinatown killed four people when the flames spread to the apartments upstairs.

Unlike another program announced earlier this year, where delivery workers had to come up with hundreds of dollars to pay for the replacement, this one will be largely subsidized by the city, offering replacement bikes for little or no cost.

"This is going to be huge help and support for delivery workers around New York City," said Gustavo Ajche with Los Deliveristas Unidos.

In June, FDNY commissioner Laura Kavanagh explained just how deadly these fires can be.

"It really is an explosion more so than it is a smoldering fire as you would often think. So, you see the volume of fire that occurs immediately upon explosion. It can make it impossible in that moment. You often hear us say that early warning is the best way to save yourselves from a fire. That is not the case with e-bikes. There is so much fire created that it can often be too late as soon as the fire has begun," Kavanagh said.

In addition to the trade-in program, the city is banning the sale and lease of uncertified e-bikes, cracking down on retailers in physical stores and even on Amazon.

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