e-bike fire wreckage in Kingston, ashes and remaining bike parts

London Fire Brigade issue warning to shoppers interested in e-bike Black Friday deals

‘Bargain’ Black Friday e-bike and e-scooter deals are leading shoppers to buy faulty or counterfeit products, the city’s fire service has said.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has warned consumers enticed by cheap deals upcoming on Black Friday (24 November) and Cyber Monday (27 November) could put themselves and others at risk by purchasing these often unregulated, poorly made products.

The announcement follows a record-breaking year of e-bike and e-scooter fires; so far, the LFB has attended 142 e-bike fires along with 28 blazes involving e-scooters, 47% more than the whole of 2022.

Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety, Charlie Pugsley, said: “E-bikes and e-scooters are a significant fire risk and we’ve had more fires involving these vehicles in 2023 than any other year.

They have destroyed homes and families have sadly lost loved ones in these fires.

“From our investigations, we know many of the fires we’ve attended have involved second-hand vehicles or the bike has been modified using parts bought online.

‘If a deal looks too good to be true, it probably is.’

It is believed that many of these fires are caused by incorrect chargers, batteries and conversion kits for e-bikes and e-scooters sold by online marketplaces.

Fire Safety advises: “Never block your escape route with anything, including e-bikes and e-scooters.

“Store them somewhere away from a main through route.

“Our advice is to store these items in a safe external location if possible, such as a garage or a shed.” 

Pugsley said: “At this time, there is not the same level of regulation of products for e-bikes and e-scooters sold via online marketplaces or auction sites when compared to high street shops, so we cannot be confident that products meet the correct safety standard.

“We understand that people are trying to save money, but if you spot a deal this week that looks too be good to be true, it probably is.”

It is extremely important to buy from a reputable seller and to check that the item displays a UKCA or CE mark that ensures that the products meet UK and EU safety, health or environmental requirements.

Phil Jenkins, Product Safety Lead Officer at London Trading Standards, said: “We advise to buy from physical retailers rather than online as it is safer.

“Products like e-bikes that are sold in shops should be accompanied by a declaration of conformity certificate.

“Understand that you could be breaking the law by providing your e-bike with too much power.

“If you are buying online, only make purchases with businesses and manufacturers based in the UK.”

“Its just not worth the risk.”

Hayley O’Keefe and her family are still recovering after an e-bike caught fire at their home in Tulse Hill in August.

The e-bike had been purchased second-hand from an online marketplace.

Hayley said: “I don’t think any of these products should be sold online until regulation has been introduced.

“There are just no safety measures and anyone can sell anything.”

In a response to a consultation last month, the LFB called for the Office for Product Safety and Standards to undertake urgent research into conversion kits for e-bikes to understand the safety of the product, and whether any specific standards need to be introduced.

Lithium battery fires are ferocious and can be extremely hard to extinguish by firefighters, members of the public should never try and tackle a lithium battery fire themselves.

LFB launched its #ChargeSafe campaign to raise awareness of the fire risks associated with e-bikes and e-scooters.

Next week, as part of this campaign, Deputy Commissioner Dom Ellis will be joined by firefighters and the Deputy Mayor for Fire & Resilience, Baroness Fiona Twycross, at the Houses of Parliament where the emerging issue will be discussed with parliamentarians.

More information about the campaign:

Image credits: London Fire Brigade

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