PeopleForBikes Supports NYC Council Legislation on Electric Bicycles and Lithium Ion Batteries

March 2, 2023

BOULDER, COLO. (March 2, 2023) /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – PeopleForBikes commends the City of New York on taking action to mitigate the increase in fires from lithium ion batteries. On March 2, The New York City Council approved Int 0663-2022, the very first law in the United States to specifically require the testing of electric bicycles, electric scooters, and lithium ion batteries to Underwriters Laboratory (UL) standards.

PeopleForBikes stands ready to support the implementation of this new law to keep New Yorkers safe from untested and potentially unsafe lithium ion batteries. While providing important safeguards for new electric mobility devices and their batteries, the bill is broad enough to allow for the continued sale of many electric bicycles and replacement batteries that have undergone the required safety testing.

“PeopleForBikes’ supplier members already produce safe and tested electric bicycles and batteries,” said Matt Moore, PeopleForBikes’ general and policy counsel. “We support this groundbreaking legislation because it will ensure that all electric bicycles, scooters, and batteries available for sale in New York City have safe, tested batteries and that public authorities and consumers can easily determine that such testing has occurred.”

This bill will require all electric bicycles sold in New York City to be tested to UL 2849, all electric scooters to be tested to UL 2272, and all lithium ion batteries for mobility devices to be tested to UL 2271. The law will go into effect 180 days after enactment. Failure to comply will expose sellers to significant civil fines.

“It is clear from our recent conversations in New York City and with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) that going forward, UL 2849 will be the testing standard that regulators and others look to for the drive systems powering electric bicycles sold in the U.S. market,” said Moore. “As our members transition to this new safety standard, PeopleForBikes will continue to support them by advocating for measured approaches to broader adoption of UL 2849 to help minimize the impacts of this disruptive change.”

PeopleForBikes successfully advocated for a provision in the bill to allow sellers the option to place the name of the accredited testing laboratory on the product or its packaging. More formal use of a proprietary laboratory trademark or logo are also available options. PeopleForBikes also asked that testing information be able to be disclosed on an electric bicycle, the battery, the packaging, or on documentation provided at the point of sale. Originally, the bill specifically required testing information be placed on packaging of an electric bicycle, which is often removed and recycled by bicycle retailers before sale.

By calling for certification to the UL 2849 standard, the law will reduce the number of untested, low-quality electric bicycles and batteries available to the 65,000 delivery workers in New York City. While the bill alone will reduce the potential of lithium ion battery fires, PeopleForBikes recognizes it will limit the availability of low-cost, albeit unsafe, mobility products for workers who depend on the ability to deliver goods quickly across the city’s five boroughs. PeopleForBikes urges the City of New York to consider additional policy solutions, such as a trade-in incentive program offering delivery workers and others a financial incentive for trading in their untested batteries and e-bikes for certified alternatives.

With any questions about this new law, please reach out to PeopleForBikes General and Policy Counsel Matt Moore at matt@peopleforbikes.org.

About PeopleForBikes

PeopleForBikes is making biking better for everyone by uniting millions of Americans, thousands of businesses, and hundreds of communities to make every bike ride safer, more accessible, and more fun. The PeopleForBikes Coalition has more than 325 supplier members and 1.4 million supporters in its grassroots network. When people ride bikes, great things happen. Join us at PeopleForBikes.org.