Man seriously injured when e-bike used for food deliveries caught fire
London Fire Brigade said the victim suffered burns to several parts of his body while trying to put the blaze out with an extinguisher.
A man believed to be a food delivery rider was seriously injured when his electric bike caught fire while charging in a bedroom.
London Fire Brigade (LFB) said the victim suffered burns to several parts of his body while trying to tackle the blaze with an extinguisher.
The blaze at a flat in Highgate, north London, on September 12 was put out by firefighters.
An image released by LFB shows a bag used by riders for delivery company Deliveroo attached to the back of the severely damaged bike.
LFB warned the risk of an e-bike fire is “much greater” if users fail to purchase the correct charger from a reputable seller.
Deputy commissioner Dom Ellis said: “We strongly recommend calling us immediately if there is a fire, but particularly if it involves your e-bike or e-scooter.
“Fires involving lithium batteries, which power these vehicles, can be ferocious, producing jets of flame.
“The blaze is also hot enough to melt through metal. This type of fire produces a highly flammable, explosive and toxic vapour cloud which should never be inhaled. The fire can also be extremely challenging to put out.
“This incident, and the severe injuries sustained by this e-bike owner, highlights why you should never tackle a lithium battery fire. Our advice is to get out and call 999.”
On September 13, most of a shop in Bow, east London, was damaged after an e-bike battery caught fire.
The previous weekend, a total of 80 firefighters responded to two separate fires believed to have been caused by e-bike batteries.
The majority of a third-floor flat was damaged after an e-bike caught fire in Holborn, central London, on September 9, while the following morning a fire spread from an e-bike charging in a garden to a block of flats in Penge, south-east London.
There have been at least 137 e-bike or e-scooter fires in London so far this year, LFB said.
Three people have died and a further 50 were injured in the blazes.
On Monday, the London Assembly Fire, Resilience and Emergency Planning Committee wrote to the Government raising “serious concerns” over the regulation of the vehicles, and called for the Department for Business and Trade to outline what action it is taking to address safety concerns.
It is legal to ride an e-bike as long as it meets certain requirements.
They must be pedal-assisted and have an electric motor with a maximum power output of 250 watts and that does not propel the bike when it is travelling faster than 15.5mph.
E-bikes are often used by food delivery riders eager to make journeys as quickly as possible as they earn money based on the number of customers they serve.
Mr Ellis said: “We recognise the many benefits e-bikes bring to travel in our city, but the stark reality is that some of these vehicles are proving to be incredibly dangerous, particularly if they have been modified with second-hand products or if batteries are used with the wrong chargers.
“We fear we will continue to see a high level of these fires unless urgent research takes place into the causes of these battery fires.
“Proper regulation is also required to help prevent people unknowingly purchasing dangerous products, such as batteries and conversion kits, from online marketplaces.”
Lesley Rudd, chief executive of the charity Electrical Safety First, said: “Online marketplaces are a hot bed for substandard e-bike chargers, with our own snapshot investigation finding more than 60 that posed a serious risk of fire.
“Incompatible chargers can supply an e-bike battery with too much voltage causing a catastrophic fire and we want to see a ban on universal chargers that risk doing exactly this.
“Until online marketplaces are regulated like our high street stores, fires will continue.”
Deliveroo was approached for a comment.