Please note that this initial BA response is based on the embargoed press release which preceded publication of the ESF report, and which contained only headline-level outlines of its main recommendations. We will update after seeing the full report.
The Bicycle Association (BA), as the representative body for the UK cycle industry, welcomes this intervention by Electrical Safety First (ESF). The UK cycle industry takes e-bike fire safety extremely seriously, and reputable e-bike suppliers take considerable care in the responsible sourcing and testing of their battery, charger and drive systems to ensure that when used as intended, these systems are very safe.
But as ESF has identified, there is a growing issue with some e-bike and e-scooter battery packs and chargers, especially third party devices and those sold via online marketplaces, which pose a serious risk to the public.
The BA and the UK cycle industry will fully support swift regulatory measures to address this issue, to safeguard the reputation of the e-bike category and its potential to transform our cities with healthy, enjoyable low-carbon transportation.
We look forward to reading the full report and the detail of what is proposed by ESF. But on the basis of the press release issued ahead of the report:
- The BA particularly welcomes the comments around regulation of online marketplaces, which have been identified by fire services as the route by which many problematic products are sourced.
- On the specific recommendation around mandatory third party testing of battery packs, the BA is very open to this proposal – many e-bike battery packs used by reputable e-bike suppliers are already tested by third parties. We would be happy to provide industry input as this proposal is developed.
- We would suggest that ESF contributes any evidence or proposals to the research ongoing into this issue at the Office for Product Safety and Standards (part of BEIS). It would also be timely to draw this to the attention of officials at DEFRA who are preparing a consultation on the UK’s batteries regulations. The Bicycle Association is already actively contributing to both, on behalf of the UK cycle industry.
The BA looks forward to future positive engagement with ESF to help develop regulatory proposals which will be effective in addressing the safety issues of sub-standard battery systems and reckless sellers, while also remaining practical for responsible actors in the e-bike industry to implement.
A collection of recent statements and briefings from the BA around e-bike regulation and fire safety can be found here on the BA website.