If you’re at all interested in electric bikes, you may have seen some articles in the news recently about the growing number of battery fires. In fact, in 2022 there were over 20 lithium-ion battery fires in Vancouver, and five of those were fatalities. Lithium-ion batteries are common in many household devices (like your phone or laptop), but we rarely hear of fires due to their stricter regulation.
With the popularity of e-bikes skyrocketing, it is more important than ever to be aware of factors that could lead to a potential fire hazard.
Whether you’re looking into buying an e-bike for yourself, or you already own one and want to stay safe, we’ve got you covered. Here at Cycle City, we understand your concerns and want to provide insight not only on fire safety but also best practices for buying and upkeep your electric bike. In this article, we’ll take you on a journey through all the must-know tips regarding e bike safety so that you can hit the road with confidence!
Saving For An E-Bike: Quality & Safety Over Price
Electric bikes can be pricey, so we understand the lure of finding a cheaper alternative online. But when your safety is on the line, it’s better to invest. Discount big box stores are great for some things, but electric bikes aren’t one of them. These lower-priced electric bikes don’t typically meet the same quality and safety standards as ones from reputable bike stores. If the price is too good to be true, it probably is!
Plus, we’re sure you plan to ride your e-bike for years to come, right? Many inexpensive off-brands of electric bikes don’t offer replacement parts. And good luck getting that big-box store to help with upkeep to keep your bike running safe and smooth.
Which leads us to our next point: consulting some experts!
Consult With Your Local Bike Shop Before Buying
Stop by Cycle City to talk to one of our knowledgeable, friendly team members about your upcoming e-bike purchase. Our team is well-versed in electric bike safety, and can walk you through different options to fit your lifestyle and price range. The electric bikes we carry are high quality and from reputable manufacturers such as Kona and Specialized, so they’ll last you a long time.
E-Bike Safety Certification
The cycling industry is responding to e-bike safety controversy by creating a unified UL certification, but as of February 2023, it’s still in progress. If you’re looking for a way to tell if your e-bike is safe, check if your system is certified. Meaning the battery, charger, and motor are all designed to work together. If you’re not sure, consult an expert. We expect more regulation on manufacturing could be on the horizon. You can view more information on certification here.
Avoid Contributing to E-Waste
We’ve seen it plenty of times. People buy a cheap ebike but can’t find spare parts for it because they’re not readily available. What you thought was a great deal ends up in a landfill within a year or two, adding to our growing e-waste problem.
Best Safety Practices for E-Bikes
Get Regular Tune-Ups
We recommend regular tune-ups for ALL bikes, as it’s the best way to stay safe and comfortable on the road. It’ll keep your bike running in tip-top shape, and can act as early diagnosis for any potential issues in the future.
Just say NO to DIY upgrades. Many of the fires in Vancouver started because someone had manipulated the battery to try to get more power or speed from the bike. YouTube is full of tutorials on how to get more juice out of your lithium-ion batteries. Besides the obvious fire risk, there’s also the risk of exposure to toxic gasses.
Use The Right E-Bike Charger & Battery
Always use the charger that comes with the device. No exceptions. When it comes to buying a new battery, make sure it’s from the same manufacturer as your e-bike.
Store Your E-Bike Safely
Keep your electric bike away from flammable items at room temperature. Don’t charge your e-bike overnight or when you’re not at home.
We hope this blog has helped boost your confidence around e-bike safety!
You can always stop by our store for help from our knowledgeable staff as well – we’d love to chat about all things bicycles and make sure that you have the most secure ride possible. Stop by the shop to chat with our e-bike experts today!