Electronic Bicycles, also called e-bikes, have become increasingly popular in the US following COVID among drivers for delivery apps, like Uber Eats, and for commuters looking for an alternative to mass transit. They have found e-bikes to be a cost-effective form of transportation. While these bikes are zippy, they have a history of malfunctioning batteries that riders should be aware of!
According to Consumer Reports, between December 2021 and December 2022,, 202 fires were attributed to the lithium-ion batteries used to power e-bikes and similar transportation devices (like e-scooters) in New York City alone. These batteries, when poorly constructed, are left charging too long, are overcharged, or are over used can catch fire or explode, spreading the fire faster.
What can you do to lessen the chance of fire?
- Use the right charger: Always use the charger that came with your e-bike, and avoid using chargers from other brands. Additionally, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for charging your battery.
- Monitor the battery: Keep an eye on the battery while charging and do not leave it unattended for long periods. Also, avoid overcharging the battery or leaving it on the charger for too long.
- Proper storage: Store your e-bike in a dry and cool place, away from direct sunlight, and flammable materials. Also, avoid storing the bike in extremely cold or hot temperatures, as this can damage the battery. Try storing it in a detached structure if possible and avoid placing it at or near a doorway that could be blocked in the chance it does ignite.
- Regular maintenance: Maintain your e-bike regularly and have it serviced by a qualified technician as needed. This includes checking the wiring and connectors for signs of damage or wear.
- Use high-quality batteries: Invest in high-quality batteries from reputable manufacturers, as they are less likely to fail and are generally more reliable. Be mindful and refrain from the use of aftermarket batteries. Use the batteries manufactured by or approved by the e-bike manufacturer.
- Do not modify the bike: Avoid making any modifications to the bike’s electrical components or battery, as this can increase the risk of fire.
- Check for recalls: Keep up-to-date with any recalls related to your e-bike’s battery or electrical system, and have any necessary repairs or replacements done promptly.
- In the case of fire: Try to move the e-bike out of and away from the building as a lithium-ion battery fire can be extremely dangerous and difficult to extinguish.
Like any other vehicle, e-bikes also come with their own set of risks that may require insurance coverage. Here are some potential insurance risks to consider:
- Accidents: If you get into an accident while riding your e-bike, you may be liable for any damages or injuries you cause to others. You may also suffer injuries that require medical attention or damage your e-bike. Therefore, it’s essential to have liability insurance to cover any damages or injuries you may cause.
- Theft: E-bikes are a popular target for thieves because they are expensive and relatively easy to steal. To protect against theft, you may want to consider comprehensive coverage or adding theft coverage to your policy.
- Vandalism: Your e-bike may be vandalized, which can cause damage and require repairs. Comprehensive coverage can help cover the cost of repairs in this situation.
- Damage from natural disasters: Natural disasters like floods, earthquakes, and hurricanes can cause damage to your e-bike. Comprehensive coverage can help cover the cost of repairs or replacement in such cases.
- Personal injuries: E-bikes can travel at high speeds, and accidents can cause serious injuries. Personal injury protection (PIP) insurance can help cover medical expenses, lost wages, and other costs associated with personal injuries.
It’s important to note that insurance requirements for e-bikes may vary by state. It’s best to consult with your Quincy Mutual agent to determine the insurance coverage that best suits your needs. If you’re not a Quincy Mutual client yet, find your closest agent here.