Mayor Adams signs bills aimed at preventing lithium-ion battery fires

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Monday, March 20, 2023
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NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Mayor Eric Adams signed five bills into law on Monday, aimed at preventing fires caused by lithium-ion batteries.

Over the weekend, a man died in an apartment fire in the Bronx that investigators say was caused by a lithium-ion battery.

The FDNY says the batteries have caused 33 fires across New York City this year.

Three people have died and 42 others were injured.

The first bill provides an informational campaign educating the public on fire risks posed by powered mobility devices and how to mitigate those risks.

The second bill will prohibit the sale, lease, or rental of powered mobility devices, such as e-bikes and electric scooters, and storage batteries for these devices, that fail to meet recognized safety standards.

The third bill will require the FDNY to submit five reports relating to fire risks and powered mobility devices, such as e-bikes and electric scooters. Reports will include data on fires during the previous year caused by these devices and recommendations for changes to changes to the administrative code to further decrease fire risk.

The fourth bill will require the DCWP, in consultation with the FDNY, to publish materials that provide guidance on safe use and storage of powered mobility devices.

The fifth bill will prohibit the assembly or reconditioning of lithium-ion batteries using cells removed from used storage batteries and prohibit the sale of a lithium-ion batteries that use cells removed from used storage batteries.

Mayor Adams said the city will also implement the "Charge Safe, Ride Safe" plan.

"Today, we are supercharging safety for all of our e-bikes and e-scooter users," Mayor Adams said. "These are convenient transportation options for New Yorkers, but faulty and illegal devices are making their way into our homes and streets, causing fires and putting lives at risk. Through promoting safe devices, expanding education, increasing enforcement on high-risk situations, and pursuing additional regulation, I'm proud that New York City is leading that charge. E-bikes and e-scooters are here to stay, and with this plan and these five pieces of critical legislation I'm proud to sign, we are going to ensure that they are safe for all New Yorkers to use."

The plan focuses on four key areas: Promoting and incentivizing safe battery use, increasing education and outreach to electric micromobility users, advocating for additional federal regulation of these devices, and expanding enforcement against high-risk situations.

"Fires caused by e-bikes and the lithium-ion batteries they rely on have increased dramatically in our city, with deadly consequences for citizens and first responders," Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) Commissioner Laura Kavanagh said. "It is a problem we are tackling aggressively with our partners in city, state, and federal government. We are grateful to the mayor for signing these bills into law and to the City Council for passing legislation that supports the FDNY in addressing this critical safety matter."


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