With the popularity of electric bicycles (e-bikes) increasing, understanding how to keep yourself safe from their batteries is becoming more important.
Safety tips are being offered by Comox Fire Rescue. They say the danger involves the lithium-ion batteries that power them, and what can happen if they’re damaged or overcharged.
They say the batteries store a large amount of energy in a small space. If these batteries get damaged a process called “thermal runaway” could begin, presenting a danger for the rider.
Thermal runaway is when electrolytes contained in the battery are vaporized, causing pressure in the battery casing. The fire department says the reaction can lead to an explosion or a fire when the case has to release the pressure.
To prevent this from happening, the fire department says to only charge the battery with the manufacturer’s supplied charger and follow their recommendations.
They add batteries should always be charged away from combustibles and be monitored for overheating.
Storing the batteries in a fire-resistant cabinet is also recommended.
Assistant chief of operations and training Rick Shelton says the proper care and safety of the batteries is important because e-bikes are “an excellent transportation method around town.”
The fire department also encourages installing a working smoke detector near stored e-bike batteries and having a fire extinguisher nearby.
More information can be found here.