NEW YORK – Fires caused by lithium batteries in New York have increased. According to data from the authorities, in 2022 there were 216 fires related to this cause and in 2023 there are already 63.
In addition, since 2022, at least six people have died and 147 have been injured by this type of accident. There are thousands of products with these lithium batteries all over town.
Where are these fires coming from with lithium batteries?
These batteries are made up of different batteries or cells and it only takes one of them to receive a hit or damage for it to become a ticking time bomb.
When one of them explodes, chemicals and gases are released, which complicates the work of firefighters.
What solutions does New York City offer?
The city council’s transport committee is proposing legislation that would help prevent these fires by creating a task force to determine if and where to install charging stations for battery-powered bicycles used by food and goods-to-home deliverers.
The working group will consider the cost of building and operating charging stations, including whether some or all of this cost can be borne by third-party couriers or third-party delivery services; where these charging stations should be located; whether the operation of the charging stations would be better ensured by third parties; whether the use of the charging station could be limited to the category of food delivery people; whether food deliverers can use charging stations for free or at low cost; and how these charging stations can mitigate the risk of fire caused by lithium-ion batteries contained in e-bikes.
At a press conference, New York senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gilibrand announced legislation to regulate the sale of these batteries, which they say are faulty and cheaply imported from China.
These measures, as well as others that have already been taken, are also being considered at the federal level.
In addition, the committee will review bills that require the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to create a searchable map of current bike path conditions and report evasion of red light cameras or school speed cameras by motor vehicles with unreadable license plates.
The Committee will also consider bills that would consolidate notice requirements for bike lanes, suspend alternate lateral parking regulations in Tisha B’Av and create new offenses for vehicles caught blocking bike lanes, crosswalks and sidewalks.
On the other hand, a municipal law has been passed that prohibits the sale of these modified batteries.
What can I do at home?
The bike should be stored in a safe place and the battery separately. Do not have more than one battery together.
The origin of many fires ends up being the placement of bicycles that use lithium batteries to be recharged very close to furniture or other materials that can catch fire.
“We recommend that people do not wear it in the hallway or when entering and leaving a house,” firefighter Kenny Vidal told Telemundo 47 Investiga.