Public call for stricter bans on electric bicycles in elevators after battery explosion leaves 5 injured
Published: May 12, 2021 12:42 AM
An electric bike is being charged in a residential building in Shanghai, on February 28, 2021. Photo: CFP

An electric bike is being charged in a residential building in Shanghai, on February 28, 2021. Photo: CFP

Communities across China have tightened bans on electric bicycles in elevators and the residential buildings. Some have resorted to smart devices after the explosion of a battery inside an elevator in Southwest China injured five people, leaving two in the intensive care unit (ICU) on Monday. 

The smart device will stop the elevator when it detects an electric bicycle inside and has been installed in some communities in Shanghai and in East China's Shandong Province, according to media reports.

The public also called for tighter implementation of restrictions on electric bicycles in residential buildings as spontaneous combustion of batteries often happen and pose great danger to people. 

Most property managers have banned electric bicycles on elevators or in entire residential buildings, only allowing them to park outdoors. But some community workers have said there are challenges to carry out the bans as they are not granted power to enforce the ban and cannot force residents to obey the norms. 

The new round of discussions over the safety of electric bicycles came after an explosion on Monday in Chengdu, Southwest China's Sichuan Province . 

According to footage posted online the explosion happened when the elevator doors closed after one person got into the elevator with an electric bicycle. Four people were already inside including an elderly woman with her five-month-old grandchild in her arms. 

The bicycle battery exploded and caught on flames injuring all riders. The grandmother suffered burns in 75 percent of her body and both she and the baby are still in the ICU as of Tuesday evening.  

The accident was not uncommon and the Global Times found numerous reports on sudden battery explosions or burning of electric bicycles, including a deadly case six days ago in Hefei, East China's Anhui Province. But Monday's incident caught wide public attention with the shocking footage that has gone viral on social media. 

The local market regulator has launched an investigation to determine if the bicycle was of poor quality or if the owner had made any modifications, specifically to the battery, which could increase the risk of spontaneous combustion. 

If the bicycle was modified the owner will face criminal charges, lawyers said.