E-bike and e-scooter groups jostle for profits in rapidly expanding market. Electric bicycle scooter

Laws for Pedestrians, Bikes, E-Bikes and E-Scooters

Long Beach Municipal Code

Riding on Sidewalks. Prohibited Areas (LBMC 10.48.070 A) No person shall ride a bicycle upon a sidewalk within the following areas:

  • Any business district
  • Sidewalks of bridges
  • Pedestrian underpasses or overpasses
  • Sidewalks adjacent to any school building, church, recreation center, playground, or senior citizens’ residential development
  • Within the area south of Ocean Boulevard between the Long Beach Museum of Art on the west and Bluff Park on the east;
  • On the northern side of the Downtown Marina Mole (south of Shoreline Village) between Gangway A and Gangway P.

Riding on Sidewalks. Pedestrians (LBMC 10.48.070 B) Bicyclists riding on the sidewalk must yield to any pedestrian, and when overtaking and passing a pedestrian, shall give an audible signal and pass to the left of the pedestrian only under conditions permitting such movement in safety.

Riding on Sidewalks. Additional Sidewalks (LBMC 10.48.070 D) The following public ways shall be considered sidewalks:

  • Seaside Walk south of Ocean Boulevard between 59th Place and and 69th Place, known as the Boardwalk
  • Bay Shore Walk north of Ocean Boulevard between 55th Place and 69th Place

Riding on Sidewalks. Officers Exempt (LBMC 10.48.070 E) Section 10.48.070 shall not apply to a bicycle operated by any officer employed by the City while on duty.

California Vehicle Code

Bicyclist Rights (CVC 21200) Bicyclists have all the rights and responsibilities of vehicle drivers.

Alcohol and Drugs (CVC 21200.5)It is against the law to ride a bicycle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Equipment (CVC 21201 and 21204)Bicycles must be equipped with at least a brake which allows operators to execute to a wheel skid on dry, level, clean pavement. Handlebars must not be higher than the rider’s shoulders. Bicycles must be small enough for the rider to stop, support it with one foot on the ground, and restart safely. At night, bicycles must be equipped with a white headlight or white light attached to the rider and visible from the front. Bicycles must also have a rear red reflector and white or yellow pedal reflectors. There must be a white or yellow reflector on the front of the bicycle visible from the side, and a red or white reflector on the rear of the bicycle visible from the side. All riders must have a permanent, regular seat. Bicycle passengers less than 40 lbs. must have a seat which retains them in place and protects them from moving parts.

Use of the Roadway (CVC 21202) Bicycles traveling slower than the normal speed of traffic must ride as close to the right side of the road as practicable except: when passing, preparing for a left turn, to avoid hazards and dangerous conditions or if the lane is too narrow.

Bicycle Path Crossing (CVC 231.6) A “bicycle path crossing” is the prolongation or connection of the boundary lines of a bike path where the intersecting roadways meet at approximately right angles. Or any portion of a roadway distinctly indicated for bicycle crossing by lines or other markings on the street surface.

Hitching Rides (CVC 21203) Bicyclists may not hitch rides on vehicles.

Carrying Articles (CVC 21205) Bicyclists may not carry items which keep them from using at least one hand upon the handlebars.

Motorized Bicycles (CVC 21207.5) Motorized bicycles may not be used on bike paths or trails, bike lanes, or other bikeways.

Bicycle Lane Use (CVC 21208) Bicyclists traveling slower than traffic must use bike lanes except when making a left turn, passing, or avoiding hazardous conditions.

Obstruction of Pedestrians (CVC 21210) Bicyclists may not leave bicycles on their sides on the sidewalk or park bicycles in a manner which obstructs pedestrians.

Bikeway Obstruction (CVC 21211) No one may stop on or park a bicycle on a bicycle path.

Helmets (CVC 21212) Bicyclists and passengers under age 18 must wear an approved helmet when on a bicycle.

Direction of Travel (CVC 21650) Bicyclists must travel on the right side of the roadway in the direction of traffic.

3-Feet for Safety Act (CVC 21760) When passing a bicyclist, drivers of motor vehicles must provide bicyclists with a three feet buffer between their motor vehicle and the bicyclist. If roadway conditions do not allow for a three feet buffer, the driver must slow down when passing a bicyclist.

Toll Bridges (CVC 23330) Bicyclists may not cross a toll bridge unless permitted by signs.

Headphones (CVC 27400) Bicyclists may not wear earphones in both ears or a headset covering both ears, except hearing aids.


California Vehicle Code

Bicycle Lane Use (CVC 21229) E-scooter riders must use a bike lane when one is provided.

Possession of a Driver’s License (CVC 21235d)E-scooter riders must have a driver’s license or instruction permit. Additionally, e-scooter vendors in Long Beach require that riders must be 18 years of age to rent a shared scooter.

Riding on Streets Over 25 MPH (CVC 21235 b) No riding on streets with a speed limit in excess of 25 MPH unless ridden in a bicycle lane.

Double-Riding (CVC 21235 e) Operate a motorized scooter with any passengers in addition to the operator.

Hand Placement (CVC 21235 f) Ride with at least one hand on the handlebars at all times.

Sidewalk Riding (CVC 21235 g) No riding on the sidewalk unless to leave adjacent property.

Hand Placement (CVC 21235 h) E-scooter cannot have handlebars above the shoulder.

Equipment Brakes (CVC 21235 a) No riding equipment without brakes.

Parking on Sidewalk (CVC 21235 i) Do not leave a motorized scooter lying on any sidewalk unless there is an adequate path for pedestrian travel.

Hitching Rides (CVC 21235 j) Attach the motorized scooter or rider while on the roadway to any other vehicle on the roadway.

Helmets (CVC 21235 c) E-scooter riders under 18 years of age must wear a bicycle helmet. The requirement for riders age 18 and over to wear helmet while riding was repealed effective January 1, 2019.

Long Beach Municipal Code

Riding on Private Property (LBMC 9.42.100)E-scooters cannot be ridden on private property.

Riding on Beach Path (LBMC 10.38.020) It is illegal to ride an e-scooter on any beach bike path or adjacent to the marina and sidewalks.


California Vehicle Code

Pedestrians Crossing at Intersections (CVC 21950) A driver shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian crossing at any marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection. No pedestrian may suddenly leave a curb and walk or run into the path of a vehicle if it would create an immediate hazard. No pedestrian may unnecessarily stop or delay traffic while in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.

Pedestrians on Sidewalk (CVC 21952) When driving over or upon a sidewalk, a driver shall yield the right-of-way to a pedestrian.

Pedestrians Not in Crosswalk (CVC 21954) Outside of a marked or unmarked crosswalk, pedestrians shall yield the right-of-way to all vehicles upon the roadway.

Pedestrians Crossing near Signalized Intersections (CVC 21955 )Between adjacent signalized intersections, pedestrians shall only cross the roadway in a crosswalk.

Vehicles Blocking Crosswalk (CVC 21970) Drivers shall not block a marked or unmarked crosswalk or sidewalk.

Hailing Rides (CVC 21957) Pedestrians must hail rides while standing on the sidewalk, not in the roadway.

Pedestrians in Bikeway (CVC 21966) No pedestrian shall walk along a bikeway where there is an adjacent adequate pedestrian facility.

Quick Links








411 W. Ocean BlvdLong Beach, CA 90802

Phone: (562) 570-6331

Electric bicycle scooter

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Electric Bikes vs Electric Scooters: Which One Should You Choose?

Micromobility has arrived. Personal electric vehicles are solving last mile problems and replacing car trips as major cities move away from car-centric infrastructure. Increasingly, commuters are realizing how much faster and easier it is to get to work on an electric scooter or e-bike than it is to sit through dreaded rush hour traffic or live at the mercy of unreliable public transportation systems.

When it comes to which personal electric vehicle is best, the choice between an e-bike or e-scooter might already be made for you by some critical factors, including portability and storage capacity. Can you fit a full-sized electric bike in your tiny studio apartment? Carry one up the stairs in your building with no elevator? If not, you’re probably leaning toward a scooter or a maybe a small, folding electric bike.

But there are many other considerations, especially if you’re just figuring out how to transition from more traditional modes of getting around.

Some other points of comparison include the need to access other modes of transportation easily or to carry larger loads; the distances you typically have to travel; or a desire to get some optional exercise along the way. Both energy-efficient options are excellent choices in their own right, but these are very different kinds of vehicles, as we’ll see.

Comfort and Convenience

If you asked 3-4 people to name the ideal personal electric vehicle you might get 3-4 different answers. Bodies and needs vary. Some people might find riding an electric bike challenging or impossible. For others, standing and balancing on a scooter or skateboard can be too difficult. For a number of riders, an electric bike may simply be the most comfortable option.

Most electric bikes have large frames and tires to accommodate the added weight of the battery and motor. Electric mountain and hybrid bikes also include full or partial suspension systems, which are as useful on bumpy, potholed city streets as they are on the trail. If comfort is your main concern, you might consider the huge range of electric bikes, which do come in lighter, folding options to better meet a need for portability.

That’s not, however, to say that electric scooters don’t offer a comfortable ride—they do. Many high-performance models even feature large pneumatic tires and suspension systems, though at the cost of a larger vehicle that may not be easy to fold or carry and can weigh as much as an e-bike. For most people, these heavy add-ons defeat one of the primary reasons for owning a scooter—convenience.

Most lightweight, durable scooters like Unagi’s Model One—which comes in at under 30 pounds in both its single and dual motor versions—ride smoothly and comfortably over level pavement and can easily be folded and stowed in a closet or carried onto public transportation. Electric bikes, on the other hand, can weigh anywhere from 50 to 100 pounds.

But convenience is a relative term. If you plan on using an electric vehicle to do your regular shopping or move kids from place to place, there’s no better choice among the range of options than a heavy-duty electric bike with a large rack, extra seating, and cargo capacity. If you want to pound the pedals and get a workout on your commute, a lighter-weight electric bike might suit you best. If your ideal mode of transport is weaving through the traffic, traveling light, and having the option to easily grab a taxi or hop on a bus or train, a lightweight folding electric scooter should be the clear choice.

Speed and Range

It’s true that the majority of electric bikes will outperform most lightweight e-scooters in top speeds, though there are, of course, exceptions. In order to keep weight down, scooter manufacturers equip their vehicles with smaller batteries and motors. Most electric scooters tend to top out at speeds of 22 mph, where electric bikes may reach speeds of up to 30 mph or more. But if you’re riding in heavy traffic or on crowded city streets, speed may not be a foremost concern.

E-scooters are sleek and nimble and can easily maneuver around cars and other vehicles that slow cyclists down. In a comparison between several different personal electric vehicles, one Electrek reviewer writes, “I rarely felt like needed to go faster than the scooter’s top speed because I had to slow down to pass cars anyways. With such a thin vehicle, it was easy to slide between and around cars that were stuck in traffic when on streets that didn’t have a bike lane.”

It’s also true that electric bikes will generally have much longer ranges and will therefore work best for longer commutes and adventures, though their larger batteries can take more time to charge. Many people who choose to purchase an electric bike live in low-density areas with lots of roads and trails and longer distances to cover. Scooter buyers, on the other hand, might tend to live in large cities where lower speeds and ranges are worthy tradeoffs for convenience, portability, and maneuverability.

Cost and Safety

Cost is certainly not the least consideration when deciding between an electric bike and electric scooter. If you need to haul things, spending the extra money on an electric bike may be the preferable (or only) option. That said, not all e-bikes cost more than high-end electric scooters (just as not all e-bikes are as harder to carry and store). The amount of money you’re willing and able to invest in a personal electric vehicle will greatly depend on your specific budget and transportation needs.

Price differences tend to be negligible between higher-cost electric scooters and lower-end electric bikes. On the other hand, some high-performance, specialty, and cargo electric bikes can set you back several thousand dollars. You can purchase an electric scooter of similar quality and durability, like the Unagi Model One, for under a thousand dollars. It’s also worth considering that the scooter will be far more theft resistant.

Electric bikes are at a much higher risk of theft because of high resale and because they must be left outside on most trips. This makes cost of ownership go up due to expensive bike locks and e-bike insurance. Electric bikes also require far more maintenance than well-made e-scooters, which may need no more than a battery replacement every few years.

When it comes to riding safely, an electric bike can be a better option on the road than an electric scooter. There are several reasons for this, some having to do with the design of the vehicles themselves: scooters are lower to the ground and their wheels are much smaller, so they don’t handle bumps and jolts nearly as well. Scooter riders are also less visible to drivers than cyclists are.

However, some significant reasons for the disparity come down to rider behavior, as the Electric Scooter Guide points out. We are conditioned from early childhood to take bike safety seriously, but “for 20 years we have ridden kick scooters” like the Razor “as a toy, and all-of-a-sudden we see one on the street, not realizing these new devices are more akin to a motorcycle than the toy we used to know.” Maybe for this reason, e-scooter riders are much less likely than cyclists to wear helmets, and thus more likely to be seriously injured.


As we’ve noted, the choice between an electric bike and an electric scooter (if you have to choose!) can depend on a number of variables that differ widely between individual riders. No personal electric vehicle is designed to meet every possible transportation need. When it comes, however, to cost, convenience, and ease of use, electric scooters might just be the best option for the majority of urban commuters and riders-about-town.

Long Range Moped-Style Electric Bike Escape Pro

E-bike assembly from 112.7 with Check availability

All Himiway bikes are covered under our manufacturer’s 2-year all-inclusive warranty for the original owner against all manufacturing defects (All free Accessories are not covered by warranty service). Himiway has over 300 dealerships in the United States. All dealerships provide free diagnosis and free maintenance services to customers.

For non-quality issues, customer may ask for product replacement or return within 15 days after received it. A 10% processing fee will be applied but we can prevent it for the customer if a replacement order is received. The customer is also responsible for the return shipping cost of 150. Himiway will provide a return shipping label, and the designated carrier will collect the return package. The customer may also choose self-return or arrange the return shipment by himself.

Currently, we only provide FREE shipping to the lower 48 states in the US. And we DO NOT ship to PO BOXES or APO.

The top speed of all Himiway bikes is up to 15.5 MPH, which is legally required in the US.

Upgraded 48V 17.5Ah Samsung/LG Lithium-ion Battery

With the 48V 17.5Ah Samsung/LG Lithium-ion Battery, the Himiway Escape Pro can range for up to 60 miles per charge (with pedal assist). The 840Wh capacity provides a 45-mile range on pure electric power.

New Mechanical Protection Design

Fully Integrated Battery Design

The wires are built inside the frame, which reduces mechanical failure in extreme weather conditions by up to 95%. The Himiway Escape Pro maintains 80% capacity even after 1000 charges.

Updated 6061 Aluminum Frame

Himiway uses higher-quality materials for the frames, which brings stronger triangle stability, 3 times thicker and sturdier than other competing frames on the market. The load capacity is greatly enhanced, and we promise a 10-year frame damage replacement service.

Fun never goes out of functional

Himiway Escape Pro

Best selling moped style E-Bike equipped with 48V Samsung battery and 20 x 4 inches fat tires. The multifunctional LCD display can be precisely set and displayed every detailed parameter you expect. Dual Suspension and fat tires provide incredible braking performance and stability. 750W motor power and 7 gear shift system make your riding easier under any cycling conditions. Want a moped-style E-bike with longer range, better performance and stronger power? Himiway Escape Pro will always be your best choice.


Geared Hub Motor (continuous)

30-50 miles

Miles per Charge (estimate)



  • A.- Total Length 69
  • B.- Handlebar Height 46.5
  • C.- Wheelbase 43.7
  • D.- Seat Height 28
  • E.- Top Tube Length 22.5
  • F.- Chain Stay Length 19
  • G.- Standover Height 31
  • H.- Wheel Diameter 23
  • I.- Head Tube Length 6
  • J.- Handlebar Length 28
  • Battery 48V 17.5Ah Samsung/LG lithium battery
  • Range 30-50 Miles
  • Hub Motor 750W brushless gear motor
  • Total Payload Capacity 330 lb.
  • Recommended Rider Heights 5’1 ~ 6’1
  • Charger US standard 2.0 A Smart charger
  • Controller 48V / 22A
  • Display LCD display with USB charging
  • Weight 92lb.
  • Pedal Assist Intelligent 0~5 level pedal assist
  • Tires 20 x 4 Kenda fat tires
  • Brake lever Aluminum alloy comfort grip levers with motor cutoff switch
  • Rear Light Taillight
  • Freewheel Shimano 7 speed gear shift system
  • Brake180MM Mechanical Disc Brakes
  • Chain KMC chain
  • Stem MA-5040 28.631.8MM
  • Crank 46T170MM 4-jaw L/R forged alloy
  • Gearing Shimano- 14-28T BROWN/BK
  • Front Fork Front Suspension Hydraulic Lockout
  • Throttle Half twist throttle
  • Pedal Alloy pedal with reflectors
  • Bike Frame 6061 Aluminum frame
  • Front Light 48V LED light
  • Saddle Velo soft saddle
  • Full fenders Rear rack Included
  • Kickstand Heavy duty aluminum
  • Wheels Alloy wheels

Updated 6061 Aluminum Frame Fully Integrated Battery Design

Himiway uses high-quality 6061 aluminum for the frame to give the bike unparalleled durability. The moped frame design is friendly to heavier riders and riders with physical limitations, making it easier for everyone to get on and off their bikes. The integrated design gives you protection from inclement weather, eliminating up to 98% of common mechanical failures.

Updated Motor : Fast accelerationGood gradeabilityLonger Lifespan

750W Upgraded Brushless Geared Hub Motor Use the latest updated inner ring specialized in high temperature resistance and better heat dissipation, which can reduce the motor magnets’ attenuation speed to guarantee a longer life expectancy. The 750W brushless gear hub motor can help you conquer even the most rugged terrain easily.

Why HIMIWAY can be the long range expert ? Here is the reason

Himiway Escape Pro combines the new 48V 17.5AH Samsung/LG Lithium-ion Battery to ensure a long life expectancy and distinguished performance. The single range can be up to 60 miles per charge on pedal-assist mode and around 35 miles on pure electric power mode.

The range can be affected by several factors like rider weight, incline, and pedal-assist levels, etc.

Multifunctional LCD Display

Backlight display provides the information of speed, mileage, power, etc.

Battery Capacity

A fuel gauge for your electrons.


Calculate how many miles you have ridden

Pedal Assist Level

Pedal assistance power adjustment.


Can be set to current speed, max speed, or average speed.

USB Charging

It can charge your dying cell phone.


Displays motor power output in real-time.

Better control and traction

Himiway Escape Pro boasts a Dual Suspension Hydraulic Lockout which ensures comfort of riding under any complex cycling conditions. Push your rides to an advanced level while enjoying better control and traction of your E-bike. Go smoother, go longer, and rule the road.

20X4 Kenda Fat Tires

20×4 Kenda K-shield fat tires provide upgraded grip and traction on rugged roads. Even on the most challenging terrains and weather conditions, these fat tires can guarantee your safety and offer you an easy and smooth riding experience.

Shimano 7 Speed Gear Shift System

The Shimano 7 speed freewheel means you can shift to a larger cog for uphill riding and downshift to a smaller cog for high speed riding. In combination with the pedal-assist system, you can adjust the most suitable speed to complete your journey.

180mm Mechanical Disc Brakes

Sensitive Aries 180mm mechanical disc brakes provide ample braking force even in the harshest conditions efficiently.

Integrated Brake Light

The automatic brake light will be activated whenever you use the brake, which can prevent rear-end collisions while riding at night.


The Himiway independent RD luminosity spotlight is 20% brighter than LED light. Visibility is improved to guarantee your safety while riding at night.

Full suspension

The dual suspension effectively absorbs most of the jarring bumps and shocks, especially on complicated and rugged routes, reducing your tiredness and allowing you to ride faster.

Durable Aluminum Crankset

Durable aluminum crankset guards to provide further protections to the chainring and help the chainstay to travel over rough terrain.

Half Twist Throttle

Customer Reviews

I love this e-bike. It’s so fun to ride, I’m learning how to use and it’s a lot of fun. I’m not a young person so I just take my time. Would recommend this e-bike Rhonda R.

I’ve rode this bike with the model with the battery on the bottom and the bike is amazing the only complaint I have with this bike is there swing arm it wiggles alot after 2000miles and it makes the whole back end feel loose but other than that my bike has many upgrades and just a overall great bike to buy for the price my tiktok is BUZZBIKEMASON you can see the upgrades ive put on it and what this bike is really capable of.

Can’t get the front lights to come on

I have 700 miles on my Himiway Escape now. I’ve driven it all over Chicago for over a year now (it even goes through sand). The battery will last for 20 miles full speed (no pedaling) when it’s new. But now I only get 16 miles. It goes 22 MPH constantly with no pedaling at all. The one thing that sucks is the screechy brakes. They were really loud, but I rub grease on the disks every couple months and it’s quiet. ALL E-Bikes exaggerate their miles of range. Always look at AH (Amp Hours) when shopping. The Escape is 16AH, which ends up being 16 miles of range (full speed, no pedaling). I test drove the Pedego brand E-bike. It’s seat was uncomfortable, only went 18 MPH, and the motor made a slight screeching noise. 22 MPH is so much more fun than 18 MPH, it’s a big difference when you’re on the bike. Also very important is Himiway’s customer service. If you E-mail them, they WILL respond and send you parts fast.

All I need is this bike. Retired a couple years ago and have my family close. I’ll ride to go see my grandkids instead of driving. Wanted a Harley but the hemi will do.

I think the bikes are really nice so far only have 15 miles but so far everything is great. Still waiting for broken plastic front fender connector on front fork

It’s been great except that it arriv3d with two minor pieces that were broken. I reported it right away and am just waiting to receive the parts so 8 can finish putting the from fender on.

Quality is better than my last Harley! Easy to assemble, the only improvement I would recommend is a better connection for the front light wiring. Good job Folks!

Love the matte black finish. The seat is comfortable. I enjoy the step through on the escape pro. The headlight is solid in my opinion. The display is user friendly. I would definitely purchase another one. only complaint is the brakes could be a little better.

Still making adjustments for how much power assist in each gear to my liking, but so far so good.

Himiway Escape Pro FAQS

Which class of E-bike does Himiway Escape belong to?

Himiway Escape belongs to class 2 E-bike with pedal assist.

Generally, how long will it take to assemble?

Our customers generally need 45 to 70 minutes to assemble the bike. Does it take too long? Check out the Himiway’s official instruction video or find a pro on Voletooler for help.

Why moped-frames and fat tires can bring a better riding experience?

The moped-frame makes commuting much easier and faster. The design of the moped-frame can effectively improve battery durability and is very friendly to cycling beginners. The fat tire provides massive grip and mechanical stability in any complex riding conditions, which can protect the riding safety of cyclists, especially the elderly.

What are the effects and functions of dual suspension?

The dual suspension can efficiently soak up most of the jarring bumps, especially on complex and bumpy roads, which helps you to reduce fatigue and ride faster.

I want more Himi points to get more discounts. How to redeem Himi points?

There are several ways to acquire Himi points. We will also hold some special events regularly, such as Ride Earn. Here are the ways to redeem Himi points.

What is the top speed of Himiway Escape?

For the U.S market, the top speed of Himiway Escape is around 23mph without pedaling, which is absolutely legal.

Does Himiway have any dealers and test riding spots through offline channels?

Currently, Himiway doesn’t have and accept any dealership. Purchasing on Himiway official website is the only option. For test riding spots, please reserve click here to reserve a test ride.

There are more answers and solutions in the FAQ section. Or you can email to support@himiwaybike.com or submit a request.If you would like to purchase Himiway E-bikes in Europe. Please click Himiway City Pedelec.

What’s driving the battery fires with e-bikes and scooters?

An electric bike parked near a Bronx supermarket that was destroyed in a fire that officials say was caused by a faulty lithium-ion scooter battery.

Spencer Platt/Getty Images

As firefighters battled a five-alarm fire at a supermarket in the Bronx earlier this month, New York City officials gathered beside what they said was the cause of the fire: the blackened shell of what was once a sit-on electric scooter.

Officials said that a faulty lithium-ion battery in the scooter had suddenly burst into flame, as captured on surveillance video. The resulting fire was so intense, they said, that it enveloped the building in a matter of minutes.

There is extraordinary damage. This entire building behind me is completely destroyed. The roof is caved in. There is nothing left. And it is all because of this one single bike, said Laura Kavanaugh, the city’s fire commissioner.

Last week’s blaze joined the more than 200 fires in New York City last year caused by batteries from e-bikes, electric scooters and similar devices. Lithium-ion battery explosions are now the third leading cause of fires in the city, the fire department says.

Per FDNY Fire Marshals, the cause of today’s 5-alarm fire at 2096 Grand Concourse in the Bronx was a lithium-ion battery which powered a scooter. piccom/HTifRojiJo

— FDNY (@FDNY) March 5, 2023

As the popularity of so-called micromobility devices has soared across the U.S., so too have risen the number of fires associated with the lithium-ion batteries that power them.

Some lawmakers and federal regulators have taken note. Late last year, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced it had received reports of more than 200 incidents since the start of 2021 in which micromobility devices caught fire or overheated — incidents that led to the deaths of 19 people.

Destructive and deadly fires from lithium-ion batteries in e-bikes have reached a crisis level. The tragic loss of life from battery fires is heartbreaking and preventable, said Commissioner Richard Trumka in December.

Read on for more about why these fires are happening and how to keep yourself safe:

Why are batteries in e-bikes and scooters vulnerable to catching fire?

Lithium-ion batteries power many rechargeable devices that are part of our modern lives: cell phones, laptops, vapes, cordless power tools and electric vehicles of all kinds, from cars to scooters to e-bikes to hoverboards.

They’re small, lightweight and powerful — but they’re also prone to overheating and catching fire, said Michael Pecht, a professor of engineering at the University of Maryland. Ever since lithium-ion batteries started to be prevalent in products, we’ve seen fires, he said.

Fires from exploding e-bike batteries multiply in NYC — sometimes fatally

At issue is the high density of the batteries, which is a double-edged sword, said Pecht, who also serves as director of the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering, a university research center that consults with companies on reliability and safety issues, including batteries.

They can provide a lot of power to our cell phones and to our computers for a relatively long period of time in a very small volume, he said. But because we have so much energy packed in that small volume, if there is a problem, then they’re very flammable.

Defects or contamination in the manufacturing process can eventually lead to short circuiting or other failures.

In 2006, Dell, Apple and other major laptop makers urged millions of customers to return laptop batteries after Sony discovered a flaw in their battery manufacturing process. Chevy, Hyundai and Chrysler have all been forced to issue recalls over battery fires in electric vehicles. The Federal Aviation Administration reported more than 60 incidents last year in which lithium-ion batteries — mostly battery packs, vapes or cell phones — overheated, began smoking or caught fire on airplanes.

Why do there seem to be more e-bike– and scooter-related fires now?

In short, there are more fires because there are so many more e-bikes and scooters these days.

Their small size and low cost relative to gas-powered vehicles have made micromobility devices an attractive transportation and recreation option for millions of Americans. That’s especially true for those living in urban areas where parking and traffic are challenges for drivers. Electric bikes and scooters have also been embraced by delivery drivers.

Safety Agency Opens Probe Into Tesla Fires

The burst in popularity is so recent that there isn’t yet much solid data about how many e-bikes, scooters and other devices are sold each year.

But what information we do have shows that their numbers are growing rapidly. The Light Electric Vehicle Association, an industry group, estimates that about 880,000 e-bikes were imported to the U.S. in 2021. That’s about double the number imported in 2020, and three times the total from 2019.

devices means more fires, experts say, especially since the industry is relatively new and unregulated, and there are a lot of different companies and products on the market.

What’s being done about it?

There’s not currently much regulation of e-bikes and scooters.

Regulation could go in several directions. One would be to require devices be certified under the safety standards recommended by Underwriter Laboratories, a group that has produced safety certifications for electric products for over a century.

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Earlier this month, the New York City Council passed a package of local bills that would require all e-bikes and other electric mobility devices sold, rented or leased in the city to be certified under the appropriate UL safety standards.

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The legislation also bans the sale of uncertified or used batteries. Retailers found to be in violation of the laws can be fined up to 1,000 per violation.

At the national level, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a letter in December calling on more than 2,000 manufacturers, importers and retailers to voluntarily adhere to UL safety standards for e-bikes and other micromobility devices.

Following the guidelines significantly reduces the risk of injuries and deaths from micromobility device fires, wrote Robert Kaye, the agency’s director of compliance and field operations. Consumers face an unreasonable risk of fire and risk serious injury or death if their micromobility devices do not meet the level of safety provided by the relevant UL standards.

Additionally, the agency has vowed to pursue penalties against companies who fail to inform the CPSC of safety hazards.

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Recommendations to keep yourself safe

The main recommendation that comes from both the CPSC and the FDNY is to be present while you’re charging your device, and to not charge it while you’re sleeping. Unplug the device once it is fully charged.

The CPSC also recommends that you only use the charger that came included with your device and to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper charging.

Fire officials add that you should charge your device away from flammable materials like furniture and pillows, and that you shouldn’t charge or store your device in a location that blocks your access to an exit.

When you’re buying an e-bike or other micromobility device, try to find what battery comes stocked with it, Pecht said. Does the maker of the device state where the battery is sourced from? Is the battery made by a reputable manufacturer? Experts also suggest that consumers look for batteries that have a UL certification.

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Be warned that some online sellers may falsely claim to have UL certification. Others may sell re-wrapped batteries, meaning counterfeit batteries produced to appear as though they’re made by reputable manufacturers.

If your battery starts to fail, it may be safest to buy a new one. Don’t repair anything yourself, and buy from a company where you know that they’re using brand-name batteries, Pecht said. It may work best to buy a new battery from the same company that produced your bike or scooter.

To dispose of an old battery, bring it to a battery recycling center or other e-waste facility. Don’t throw away lithium-ion batteries in conventional trash.

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