Senator Iwen Chu Champions Legislation to Improve E-bike Safety and Regulate Lithium-Ion Batteries

Sen Chu at rally

(Brooklyn, NY) In response to an ongoing crisis of deadly fires in Brooklyn and New York State, caused by negligence and unregulated lithium-ion batteries, Senator Iwen Chu (SD-17, Brooklyn) introduced a package of four bills to help improve micro mobility and lithium-ion battery safety through common sense guidelines and stricter regulation.


This year alone, 17 of the 93 fire-related deaths in New York City were directly caused by these battery explosions, with unsafe storage and lack of fire suppressants on site resulting in catastrophic blazes. The proposed legislation targets these specific areas, in addition to broader safety regulation, by: 


S7744: Requiring manufacturers to affix a notice on any bicycles with electric assist or lithium-ion electric batteries or any scooters with electric assist or lithium-ion electric batteries, which states that such devices cannot be used on sidewalks or roads with speed limits over 30 MPH, unless otherwise permitted, and that they must obey all traffic laws. 


S7746: Requiring that any dealer where bicycles and/or scooters with electric assist, electric-powered or lithium-ion electric batteries are sold, repaired, or stored, maintain functional fire protection and suppression measures effective against lithium-ion battery and electrical fires. This includes fire extinguishers, battery cases, and automatic monitoring and detection.


S7745/A7889: Requiring batteries for bicycles with electric assist and electric scooters to be tested and approved by and contain the seal of the Underwriters Laboratories–an organization dedicated to safety testing and quality control. 


S7760/A8102: Requires bicycles with electric assist and electric scooters to have a red tag attached to the charging cord which states to unplug in emergency.


"The dangers posed by lithium-ion batteries have gone unchecked long enough and have led to too many fires across New York City and in the communities I represent. I have introduced common sense legislation that would not only make e-bikes safer but would require businesses selling and repairing them to have fire suppressants on site, as well as safe storage protocols in place,” said bill sponsor Senator Iwen Chu (D-Brooklyn). “E-bikes can continue serving as helpful tools for our community without posing serious safety risk, and I will proudly continue to lead on this issue so our riders and residents are kept out of harm's way."


“It is without a doubt that electric vehicles (EVs) are going to be a defining mode of transportation in the coming decade”, said Assemblymember Christopher Eachus (D-Orange County). “As a physics teacher for over 40 years who has built and raced EVs around the world, I understand the intricate pieces that make up these new technologies, and more importantly the safety precautions needed to use them. As we move forward with expanding and encouraging EV usage to consumers across NYS, it is imperative that we do it with the safety of our constituents top of mind. These bills do exactly that, and in doing so support our leap into a cleaner future. I am thankful for Senator Chu’s leadership and support on this issue and am looking forward to getting these critical bills passed in Albany.”

“The Uniformed Firefighters Association proudly stands in support of Senator Iwen Chu’s proposed landmark legislation that would require automatic fire monitoring and Class-B fire extinguishers in all e-bike shops, as well as set new standards for testing and certifying batteries used in micro-mobility devices,” said Uniformed Firefighters Association Vice President Robert C. Eustace. “Senator Chu clearly understands the urgency in passing such legislation to protect not just property, but the lives of New York City residents and first responders.”


“At the American Red Cross keeping families safe is a top priority. We respond to nearly 60,000 disasters annually across the country, the vast majority of them home fires. This is why we know that devastation families face after a fire. To help keep families safe, we are proud to join forces with Sen. Chu and community members to share important fire safety information and help keep our neighbors across New York safe,” said Celena Sarillo, interim CEO, American Red Cross in Greater NY.


“PCR has assisted families after the traumatic experience of surviving a fire and seen the dangers it poses to communities. To prevent future tragedies, the State and City government need to act urgently to regulate e-bike lithium-ion batteries. We cannot wait for the next fire that could potentially take an innocent life and destruction of property,” said Nicole Huang Director of Parent-Child Relationship Association. “As we work towards a safer New York, we thank Senator Iwen Chu for her leadership in the State and fighting for our communities.”


The press conference took place at 54th St and 7th Ave, residential building damaged in a fire occurred May 2022. The building had 39 units and 15 of them were vacated because of the fire. Residents, displaced by the fire and still in temporary lodgings, joined Senator Chu for the announcement.




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