Plans to double e-bike power may lead to severe fires


A charity has raised concerns about government plans to double the maximum legal power of e-bikes, warning that it could lead to battery fires. The Department for Transport is considering proposals to increase the power of e-bikes and allow for faster speeds, including e-bikes that do not require pedaling.

In 2023, there were more fires caused by e-bikes and e-scooters in London than in any previous year. Safety charity Electrical Safety First has expressed worries about the potential for more severe battery fires if the proposed changes are implemented.

Currently, e-bikes must not exceed 250 watts, but the government is seeking to raise this limit to 500 watts in England, Scotland, and Wales. There are also concerns about “twist and go” e-bikes that provide electrical assistance without the use of pedals, with special approval currently required for speeds above 3.73mph.

The government argues that increasing the power of e-bikes would make them a more attractive and viable travel option for more people, including those with mobility issues and delivery riders transporting heavier loads. However, critics, including the Bicycle Association, have serious concerns about the potential risks and implications of these changes.

The government has opened a consultation on the proposals and will consider feedback to address any risks identified. The consultation is set to end on 25 April 2024.

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