First appeared in NewsBreak
By Aron Solomon
A recent article in the Montreal Gazette highlights the dangers of e-bikes and e-scooters – a reality in 2023 and beyond not only for anyone who uses them but for all of us who share the roads and sidewalks with them.
Electric bikes (e-bikes) and electric scooters (e-scooters) have become increasingly popular in recent years as a mode of transportation and recreation. However, there are growing concerns about the safety risks associated with these devices, and the need for better regulation to mitigate these risks. In this op-ed, we argue that e-bikes and e-scooters need to be better regulated to ensure the safety of riders and pedestrians.
One of the main safety concerns with e-bikes and e-scooters is the risk of fires. Lithium-ion batteries, commonly used to power these devices, have been associated with battery fires due to faulty charging equipment, improper charging practices, and overloaded electrical circuits. To reduce the risk of fires, it is important to only purchase devices that are listed by a nationally recognized testing lab and labeled accordingly. It is critically important for anyone maintaining one of these devices to follow proper charging practices and avoid overloading electrical circuits.
Another safety concern with e-bikes and e-scooters is the risk of collisions with pedestrians and other vehicles. As New York e-bikes and e-scooter accident lawyer, WIlliam Cooper, points out:
“These devices can travel at high speeds and operate silently, providing little to no warning to pedestrians and motorists. To reduce the risk of collisions, it is important to follow traffic signs, signals, and lane markings and to slow down and/or stop when approaching pedestrians. It is also important to be aware of the traffic around you, watch for obstacles in your path, and avoid hazards that could make you fall.”
In addition to collisions, there is a risk of injuries resulting from falls. Emergency departments have reported far more significant head injuries resulting from e-bike accidents than those that occur with traditional bicycles. To reduce the risk of injuries, it is important to wear a helmet and practice safe riding habits.
As the Gazette piece explains, to address these safety concerns, there is a need for better regulation of e-bikes and e-scooters. Currently, there is not much regulation of these devices, and there is a lack of data on how many e-bikes, scooters, and other devices are sold each year. One possible direction for regulation is to require devices to be certified under the safety standards recommended by Underwriter Laboratories, a group that has produced safety certifications for electric products for over a century. Local governments can and should pass legislation to require all e-bikes and other electric mobility devices sold to meet certain safety standards.
So while e-bikes and e-scooters have become increasingly popular in recent years, the growing concerns about the safety risks associated with these devices need to be addressed at the legislative level. To ensure the safety of riders and pedestrians, it is also important to follow proper charging practices, wear a helmet, and practice safe riding habits. By those of us who don’t use e-bikes and e-scooters working together with those who do to address these safety concerns, we can ensure that these ways of getting around can be as safe and sustainable as possible.
About Aron Solomon
A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the Chief Legal Analyst for Esquire Digital and the Editor-in-Chief for Today’s Esquire. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Fortune, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, The Boston Globe, YouTube, NewsBreak, and many other leading publications.