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02 February 2024
In a move towards increasing consumer safety and awareness, the UK government has released new guidance on the safe purchase, storage, and charging of e-bikes and e-scooters. Published on 1st February 2024, the guidance is a result of extensive consultations with industry experts and focuses on enhancing the understanding of both novice and experienced users within the e-cycle and e-scooter community.
The guidance emphasises the importance of safely purchasing these electric vehicles, ensuring compliance with manufacturing requirements, and purchasing only from reputable sellers. Notably, it includes crucial information on battery safety for both e-scooters and e-bikes. This comprehensive approach aims to raise awareness about the potential fire risks associated with lithium-ion batteries, guiding users on how to identify warning signs and address them promptly.
Key elements covered in the guidance include safe storage practices, appropriate charging procedures, and responsible battery disposal methods. The government also reminds users that e-scooters should only be used on roads as part of official rental trials to comply with legal regulations.
Addressing the broader spectrum of fire safety, separate guidelines have been issued for public transport operators, assisting them in assessing and managing fire risks related to the transportation of e-bikes and e-scooters on trains and buses. Similar guidance has been provided for those responsible for premises such as schools and workplaces.
Anthony Browne, the Technology and Decarbonisation Minister, underscored the government's commitment to safety, stating, "Safety has always been our top priority, which is why our latest guidance aims to improve the awareness of e-bike and e-scooter users in the trial areas where they're authorised."
This announcement builds upon the Home Office's previous advice on fire safety for e-scooters and e-bikes, issued last year. To further ensure the safety of lithium-ion batteries used in these electric vehicles, the Office for Product Safety and Standards (OPSS) is currently conducting a safety study and taking enforcement action against unsafe products.
The extension of e-scooter trials until May 2026 is seen as an opportunity to accumulate additional insights into various aspects, including usage patterns, safety considerations, environmental impacts, and changes in travel behaviour since the COVID-19 pandemic. This extended timeframe will enable authorities to refine regulations and build on the lessons learned during the ongoing trials.
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