Northumberland fire service warns e-bike batteries can catch fire 'without warning'

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Damaged batteries from e-bikes and e-scooters can overheat when damaged and “catch fire without warning”.

The stark warning was made by Northumberland Fire and Rescue Service as e-bikes become more and more popular.

Owners have also been asked not to dispose of batteries in their household waste or normal recycling bins, as they can cause fires in bin lorries or even household waste and recycling centres.

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While electric pedal bikes are legal on UK roads, e-scooters are only permitted for use on private property. The only exception for using e-scooters on public roads involves those that are rented through Government-endorsed trial programmes.

An e-bike battery. Photo: NCJ Media.An e-bike battery. Photo: NCJ Media.
An e-bike battery. Photo: NCJ Media.

A spokesman for NFRS said: “Batteries can be damaged by dropping them or crashing e-bikes or e-scooters. Where the battery is damaged, it can overheat and catch fire without warning.

“Check your battery regularly for any signs of damage. If you suspect it is damaged, it should be replaced and should not be used or charged.

“If you need to dispose of a damaged or end of life battery, don’t dispose of it in your household waste or normal recycling. These batteries, when punctured or crushed, can cause fires in bin lorries, recycling and waste centres.

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“Your e-bike or e-scooter manufacturer may offer a recycling service. Alternatively, check with your local authority for suitable battery recycling arrangements in your area.”

According to Northumberland County Council, household batteries and car batteries can be disposed of at one of the authority’s household waste recovery centres.

Cllr Gordon Stewart, the chairman of the Northumberland Fire Authority, said: “There is a real and frightening danger that batteries can ignite, particularly when being charged indoors and the fire will spread rapidly, I would discourage everyone to leave such items on charge when no one is in the building particularly when people are sleeping ‘

“It is vital that smoke alarms are installed in homes and they are checked regularly, and occupants are aware of various escape routes if a fire does break out.”