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New York City e-bike owners seek storage solutions as landlords worry about battery fires

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The use of electric bikes has become a contentious issue in New York City, as an increasing number of landlords and management companies are banning e-bikes from apartment buildings and bike rooms. The crackdown has come as a result of the 243 fires caused by illegal or dangerous lithium batteries used in e-bikes, scooters, and mopeds this year, resulting in 17 deaths. Insurance companies are pressuring landlords to take action against e-bikes to avoid potential liabilities.

Residents like Manuel Mancilla are feeling the impact of these bans, as there are limited options for storing e-bikes in the city. The ban has been met with frustration and outrage from e-bike riders who feel they are being unfairly targeted.

In response to the growing concerns, the City Council has taken steps to address the issue by passing laws banning the sale of micromobility devices with uncertified batteries and establishing an office to facilitate trade-ins of unsafe e-bike batteries for certified batteries. The city has also initiated surprise inspections of bike shops to enforce compliance with battery safety regulations.

While advocates for biking in the city, such as Transportation Alternatives, have called for expanded and secure bike parking to alleviate the issue, the crackdown on e-bikes has caused a decline in sales for some bike shops. The situation has pitted the safety concerns of landlords and insurance companies against the desire for accessible and secure bike parking for e-bike riders. The controversy continues to evolve, with the City Council aiming to launch a program next year to trade in unsafe e-bike batteries and address the safety concerns regarding e-bikes.

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Photo credit gothamist.com

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