Christmas warning over life-threatening fires caused by trendy present
Fires sparked by e-bike and e-scooters surge by up to 150% in a year as experts warn of dangers of exploding lithium batteries ahead of Christmas sales boom
- Life-threatening fires caused by exploding lithium batteries has sky-rocketed
- Zurich Insurers warn cheap alternatives for Christmas could be dangerous
- The festive boom to buy these products could increase the rise in fires
- These fires have ruined people’s lives and homes as trend booms
A safety warning was issued to people this Christmas after life-threatening fires caused by exploding batteries in e-scooters and e-bikes skyrocketed.
Fires sparked by e-scooters and e-bikes powered by lithium batteries have soared 149% according to Zurich Insurers’ FOI data.
This surge triggered the insurance company to issue a Christmas safety warning leading up to the festive boom.
People buying these products and looking for a cheaper alternative over the cost-of-living crisis could increase the rise in battery fires.
One in seven cyclists now owns an e-bike, with sales reaching an estimated £315 million in 2021, up from £275 million in 2020
People buying these products and looking for a cheaper alternative over the cost-of-living crisis could increase the rise in battery fires
These new transport devices caused 167 fires in the UK last year compared to 67 in 2020, according to Zurich’s FOI data.
In June, 2022, 60 London firefighters were needed to tackle a blaze on the 12th floor of a tower block in Shepherd’s Bush, West London caused by a faulty e-bike battery.
In July, 2022, five people in Walthamstow, East London, were hospitalised by a fire started by an e-bike.
In November, 2022, an exploding e-scooter battery set a Hampshire house alight.
Zurich has seen several incidents involving lithium batteries, including an £84,000 claim for a scooter that went up in flames in a garage, £13,000 for an e-bike that exploded in a customer’s bedroom, and £6,000 for another that caught fire in a living room.
Zurich fears a boom in Christmas sales combined with the squeeze on household budgets could fuel the trend further.
Fires sparked by e-scooters and e-bikes powered by lithium batteries have soared 149%
Fires caused by e-bike and e-scooter batteries have destroyed homes and lives over the last two years
Zurich’s Head of Property claims, Alastair Thomson said: ‘E-bikes and e-scooters bring new benefits but also new risks. We are concerned by an alarming rise in fires caused by devices that are unsafe or charged incorrectly.
‘Christmas shoppers should be aware of the potential dangers of lithium batteries which, if not treated properly, can pose a serious fire risk.
‘If you’re shopping for gifts powered by lithium batteries, always buy from a reputable brand and retailer, and ensure that safety standards have been met.’
Fire investigators say blazes are often linked to poor quality, damaged or incorrectly charged lithium batteries, which can explode if not handled properly.
Fire investigators say blazes are often linked to poor quality, damaged or incorrectly charged lithium batteries, which can explode if not handled properly
An investigation found 59 different listings online for e-bike chargers that fell below necessary safety standards
An investigation by consumer safety charity Electrical Safety First found 59 different listings online for e-bike chargers that fell below necessary safety standards.
A number of chargers didn’t even contain a fuse, which means there would be no way for the charger to cut out in the event of a fault, posing a serious risk of fire.
Technical Director at Electrical Safety First, Martyn Allen, said: ‘We urge people to be extremely careful in where they buy e-scooters and e-bikes, as well as the batteries and chargers for them.
‘The lithium-ion batteries that power these vehicles can cause explosive fires if they are of poor quality or misused, so exercising real care in how they are used and stored is also essential.’
One in seven cyclists now owns an e-bike, with sales reaching an estimated £315 million in 2021, up from £275 million in 2020.
While the UK saw a surge in accidents and tragedies involving these bikes and scooters, other countries across the world have also seen an increase in risk and threat to people’s lives.
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