A senior official has called to renew the national safety standard for electric bike manufacturing and set designated areas in communities to park the vehicles as the country has witnessed a rising number of fires caused by these bikes.
Sun Huashan, vice-minister of the Ministry of Emergency Management, made the comment at a national conference on electric bike management on May 18.
China has topped the world in electric bike manufacturing and use, and the number of fires caused by the vehicles has been on the rise in recent years, said Sun.
“The frequent occurrence of fires caused by electric bikes, especially ones with casualties, has resulted in a negative impact to people’s safety, smooth economic development and social stability,” Sun said.
According to the ministry, electric bikes were to blame for more than 10,000 fires across the country from 2013 to 2017, killing more than 200 people. Currently, more than 200 million electric bikes are in use in the country.
In Beijing, for example, there have been at least two tragedies related to electric bikes in the past six months. In December, a house in Chaoyang district was set ablaze by an electric bike that was being charged, killing five and seriously injuring another nine. In April, a fire in an electric bike store claimed four lives.
Some of the tragedies happened because of quality and design flaws, illegal modifications such as adding batteries with larger capacity, and unsafe charging, he said.
“Many bikes are taken into buildings and homes and illegally charged in these areas. This has been a primary reason for tragedies caused by the vehicles,” said Sun.
Residential communities should construct parking areas and set intelligent charging devices for electric bikes and there should be special personnel to patrol and manage the areas, he added.
The quality of electric bikes is directly connected to safety and the current standard for electric bike manufacturing needs to be upgraded as soon as possible to standardize electrical circuits, the installation of overload protection devices and the use of fireproof materials, he said.
Both open and covert investigations should be launched to crack down on the illegal modification of electric vehicles.
A six-month campaign targeting electric bikes will be kicked off in the country to enhance the quality of electric bikes and to remove safety hazards. At least six government departments, including quality supervision, construction and public security authorities, will participate in the campaign, he said.
The Office of Work Safety Committee under the State Council has established a group to coordinate and command the campaign and the performance of local governments in the campaign will be evaluated, according to the ministry.