Safety with E-Bikes and E-Scooters

Electric bicycles and electric scooters, or e-bikes and e-scooters, are more popular than ever. These devices give riders a lower-cost and environmentally friendly way of getting around. But, unknown to many users, the batteries that power e-bikes and e-scooters have also been known to catch on fire and cause explosions.

Tips for Staying Safe

From knowing not to overcharge your device to only having repairs performed by a qualified professional, this safety tip sheet from NFPA® will help you lower the risk of fires.

Download the Safety Tip Sheet

A History of E-Bikes and What the Future of Regulation Could Look Like

E-bikes have actually been around since the late 1800s. But it wasn’t until the past several years that the design and sale of the devices became popular. Now, cities like New York are looking for ways to better regulate the fire risks of e-bikes and e-scooters. An NFPA Journal® feature article, podcast, and video break down the current situation.

Learn More

Frequently Asked Questions

What are e-bikes?
E-bikes and e-scooters are technically known as “motorized micromobility devices.” They are powered by electricity, which is usually provided by a lithium-ion battery. E-bikes can have a motor that either fully propels the vehicle or assists the rider with pedaling.

Do e-bikes catch on fire?
Most e-bikes and e-scooters are powered by lithium-ion batteries. This is the same type of battery that powers many of today’s electric vehicles, cell phones, laptops, and power tools. When lithium-ion batteries are damaged, they can overheat, catch on fire, and even lead to explosions. When fires occur, they also tend to burn very hot and can be difficult for firefighters to extinguish. 

E-bike and e-scooter battery fires have also been associated with faulty charging equipment, improper charging practices, and overloaded electrical circuits. Learn more about the electrical hazards involved with e-bike and e-scooter charging in a recent blog written by an NFPA electrical content specialist.

How often do fires occur?
While there are no national or international statistics on how often e-bikes or e-scooters catch on fire, it does happen with some regularity—and the numbers are rising. The New York City Fire Department (FDNY) has reported more than 130 such fires so far in 2022. These fires have led to five deaths and dozens of injuries. In 2019, the first year FDNY started tracking e-bike fires, only 13 were reported.

How can you stay safe?
There are a few ways to reduce the risk of fires involving e-bikes and e-scooters. First, if you are looking to buy one of these devices, only purchase ones that are listed by a nationally recognized testing lab and labeled accordingly. If you already own or use a device, don’t continue to charge the battery once it’s full, never use charging equipment that didn’t come with your device, and stop using your device if the battery shows signs of damage, such as an unusual odor or change in color. If your device needs repairs, have them performed by a qualified professional. 

Learn more by downloading the “E-Bike and E-Scooter Safety” tip sheet.

Additional Resource

Lithium-ion batteries supply power to many devices other than e-bikes and e-scooters, including smartphones, laptops, e-cigarettes, smoke alarms, toys, and even cars. These devices and batteries can also lead to fires or explosions. Learn more by downloading the “Lithium Ion Battery Safety” tip sheet.