New E-Bike and E-Scooter Safety Guidance for Public Transport Operators

April 9, 2024
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The Department of Transport has developed a set of guidelines to provide public transport operators with the information they need to effectively mitigate lithium battery fires while transporting e-bikes and e-scooters on public transport vehicles.


While there have been limited incidents of lithium battery fires on public transport, a total of just one on the London Underground in 2021, the Department of Transport highlights that it is still important to manage the associated risks due to the destructive nature of such fires and the high number of fires caused by lithium batteries elsewhere.


In terms of mitigating the risk of lithium battery fires, the guidance provided by the Department of Transport suggests three stages.


The first stage is to educate users about the risks. Promoting the government’s guidance on buying and safely maintaining an e-bike or e-scooter to passengers is one method of doing this.


The second stage is providing specific facilities for e-bikes and e-scooters on public transport, wherever it is practical. This can be done in a number of ways:

  • Providing storage locations for e-cycles and e-scooters on transport that are either outdoors or fire-separated from passengers and workers. For example, on the decks of ferries, on external racks on buses, and in luggage carriers on trains
  • Providing storage for batteries so that batteries can be separated from the e-bikes and e-scooters. This is generally more effective if there is limited space, as batteries are relatively compact. This should be done in containers designed for lithium battery transport


It’s also important to note that methods of transport do not have to offer charging facilities for batteries.


The third stage involves implementing policies to address any other potential risks. These could include:

  • Making it clear that damaged batteries are a fire risk and should not be brought onto transport
  • Making sure that users switch off the electric system of the e-bike or e-scooter
  • Instructing people not to charge their e-bikes or e-scooters on the transport
  • Instructing people to leave the battery pack of their e-bike or e-scooter in place for the entire journey


Finally, it is important to review all policies and risk assessments regularly to ensure that measures are up-to-date and effective.


The guidance can be found here.


Guidance is also available for general users of e-bikes and e-scooters regarding how to buy, safely store, charge, and spot potential warning signs of a fire hazard. This can be found here and here.


If you have any questions or would like support with managing issues at your workplace, please speak to your usual contact or get in touch using the form below.