Dangers of E-Bikes and other devices

Dangers of E-Bikes and other devices

Why peddle an old-fashioned bicycle when you can get there so much faster with an electric one? In fast paced metropolitan cities, delivery workers (those who bring takeout food and other items to our houses) are turning to electric bicycles or e-bikes for efficiency and endurance. Can you imagine how tired your legs would be after 100 miles a day on a regular bike?

What is an e-bike? It is a mechanical bicycle powered by, you guessed it, a lithium-ion battery. A lithium battery is a rechargeable battery used in many electronic devices, automobiles, tools, and E-bicycles.

Lithium-ion batteries are generally safe. But, when they are overcharged or damaged, they can explode and catch fire. This fire is called thermal runaway. Thermal runaway is a reaction within a battery generally caused by overheating that is difficult to stop once it has started. Lithium battery fires burn extremely hot and are not easy to extinguish.

According to SLATE, “New York City is seeing an alarming number of battery fires, spiking from 22 in 2020 to 104 in 2021 to 216 by the end of last year. With its high concentration of delivery workers and other people using bikes to get around, New York has had more of these fires than anywhere else in the country, but the fires are increasingly a problem in other cities, too.”  Read the complete article here.

What is the problem? Over-charging mostly. Since the delivery workers are using the e-bikes all day, they need to charge the batteries at night. Many of the batteries are left on chargers overnight…TOO LONG.

What can you do to prevent a lithium battery fire in your home? Whether it is an e-bike, your phone or tablet, a kid’s toy, or your car, read the manufacturer’s guidelines for charging. Most devices only need an hour or two. When you put the unit/device on a charger and go to bed, the unit/device is getting 6-8 hours of charge, causing damage to the battery, and possible overheating.

Keep your family and business safe by charging your devices correctly. Explain charging procedures to your kids. Warn them of the dangers.

Need help with lithium-ion or lithium-metal battery shipments? Check out our Lithium Battery FAQ.
Our team of experts is just a call away for our customers at 855.734.5469 or send us an email, we’re happy to help.

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Karrie Ishmael, CDGP

Karrie Ishmael, CDGP

Karrie Ishmael has been with ICC since 1988. She has contributed to ICC's growth in various capacities, including customer service, sales, and marketing. In her current role as ICC's Senior Regulatory Expert and SDS author, Karrie conducts hazardous materials training classes in 49 CFR, IATA, IMDG, TDG along with OSHA and WHMIS hazard communication courses. When not training, she writes safety data sheets for customers to comply with North American and European requirements. She actively participates in many associations, including DGAC, COSTHA and is the former chair of SCHC’s OSHA Alliance Committee.

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