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Risks of electric bike batteries need addressing

China Daily | Updated: 2017-12-15 07:32
[Photo: VCG]

AN ELECTRIC BICYCLE BATTERY that was being recharged caught fire and caused a blaze that killed five people and injured nine others on Wednesday. Beijing News comments:

The deadly fire in Baiqiangzi village, Chaoyang district, Beijing, came a month after a fire in a two-storey building in the capital killed 19 people and injured eight, prompting a safety review throughout the city.

Statistics show that the recharging of electric bicycle batteries, which contain large amounts of combustible materials, caused 799 fires between 2011 and 2013, causing the deaths of 95 people and injuring 58.

There are 250 million electric bicycles on road in China, and many users recharge the lithium batteries used to power the bikes in corridors and rooms in apartment buildings. Should one of the batteries catch fire, the toxic gas it produces can fill an apartment room in 30 seconds.

To make things worse, many people string electric wiring themselves in a casual way along the corridors of residential buildings so it is more convenient for them to recharge their electric bikes. In the event of an emergency the bikes also block the escape way.

The manufacturers and sellers of electric bicycles are used to stressing their convenience, while failing to inform people of the safety risks.
If these problems around the use of the electric bicycles are not addressed, simply dismissing the grassroots officials when there is a deadly fire will not prevent more deaths.

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