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Brompton weighs in on better battery laws to clamp down on eBike fires

Posted by Warren Charker on %18 %447 %2024

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With eBikes becoming more of a fixture in the UK for the trade and consumers alike, they are subsequently generating a number of legislative questions, not least the government’s proposals to change regulations to accommodate more powerful eBikes and also around the topic of eBike fires.

CIN has previously argued that the industry needs to be loud and clear on eBike fires, and at the very least campaign for consumers to be aware that buying an eBike from a proper reputable bike dealer is advisable.

Brompton Bicycle, the UK’s largest bike manufacturer, has now spoken up and lent its backing to the campaign by Electrical Safety First that would require eBikes and their batteries to be certified by a third part before coming to market. At the moment, manufacturers can self declare their batteries are safe, said the press statement.

Electrical Safety First has drafted a Ten Minute Rule Bill, to be tabled by Yvonne Fovargue MP. The Bill will seek to introduce third party certification for eBikes, eScooters and their batteries to reduce the risk of dangerous batteries entering the market and, subsequently, people’s homes. If introduced, the regulation would see e-bikes, e-scooter and their batteries added to an existing list of products which are already subject to third party certification, including fireworks and heavy machinery.

Conversion kits and charging systems could be subject to new standards too, while mandatory markings on lithium batteries would emphasise to households that they are not suitable to be disposed of in general waste, following many recycling centre fires.

Last year, both the Bicycle Association and the Association of Cycle Traders voiced their support for the principles of the Bill, however the duo also had reservations around the Bill, which “misses the mark” in some ways. The BA and ACT said such a Bill must run alongside much stricter enforcement of product safety on products supplied to UK consumers direct from overseas sellers, often via online marketplaces. They also highlighted that emergency services had identified the app-based food delivery sector as a key area of concern due to the widespread use of eBikes either created via kits or by modifying existing eBikes, both high risk factors for fire safety. They said: “We believe any Bill aiming to meaningfully address fire risk must impose responsibility (and liability) on food delivery app operators to ensure that the equipment used by riders is safe.”


While the Bill in its current form does include focus on conversion kit standards, it’s unclear, by CIN’s understanding, whether these concerns raised by the BA and ACT in 2023 have since been filtered into a revised Bill. Electrical Safety First have been contacted for clarification.

Lesley Rudd, chief executive of Electrical Safety First, said: “The support for our Bill by Brompton Bicycle demonstrates how reputable manufacturers want to protect shoppers and their industry from the bad operators in this space who may be producing substandard batteries. We are very pleased to have their support.

“Our Bill will better protect the public, protect good businesses and weed out bad operators producing dangerous batteries that put people’s lives at risk. We urge the Government to adopt our Bill when it is tabled.”

Will Butler-Adams, CEO at Brompton Bicycle, said: “We need to get more people on bikes, it’s good for your health and good for our planet, and  above all else it makes us happy!

“Electric bikes are allowing more people to enjoy the fun and freedom of cycling, but unfortunately there are a number of serious incidents coming from unregulated ebikes and conversion kits that could jeopardise this momentum and put people off getting back on a bike. If we can ensure that all electric bikes follow the same stringent testing and checks as our own, then the future for electric bikes is bright, and we can bring back cycling for generations to come.”

There’s more on eBike fires here.


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