An electric bike caught fire shooting out battery parts as it burned in Newport Beach the afternoon of March 19, 2017. According to a news report in The Orange County Register, the incident was reported at the end of an access ramp on 18th Street. Police say a man and woman had parked their newly-purchased electric bikes on the beach and were sitting next to them when the battery on one of the bikes malfunctioned.
Lifeguards, who were on the scene, reported that the battery was popping and sending out projectiles dozens of yards from the fire. Lifeguards also said they had never seen anything like that before. No one was injured and firefighters used a dry chemical to put out the fire. One of the bikes was destroyed and another was damaged. The couple bought the bikes that each cost about $2,500 just last week, officials said.
It is indeed fortunate that no one was injured in this incident and most importantly that no one was riding the electric bike when it malfunctioned.
How Do Electric Bikes Work?
When you hear the words “electric bicycle,” you might imagine something like a scooter or an electric motorcycle. But actually, these just look like regular bicycles. Except they have several electric components like a motor, a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and a controller, all integrated into the design. Electric bikes pedal and handle just like regular bicycles. The electric component in these bicycles is simply meant to augment human power, not to completely replace it. The power generated makes obstacles such as hills and headwinds more manageable and allows riders to travel further without getting exhausted.
The Danger of Lithium-Ion Batteries
While electric bicycles are not all that common and are quite expensive, several fires have been reported where the bicycles self-combust. In some cases the bicycles were parked inside the house and caught fire. So far, no major injuries or fatalities have been reported. However, it is apparent that the lithium-ion batteries that power these bicycles might be the cause.
In fact, the description of the Newport Beach incident where the batteries shot out of the bike matches the accounts of e-cigarette explosions where the batteries shot out like projectiles. Scores of people have been injured across the country as a result of e-cig fires and explosions. At issue are substandard batteries and parts that trigger these explosions and fires.
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of defective lithium batteries, please contact an experienced Newport Beach personal injury lawyer who will fight for your rights and help you get the compensation you rightfully deserve.