Hoverboards and their ilk have overheated or caught fire hundreds of times this year, killing at least 19 people and sending more than 20 others to hospital emergency rooms in 39 states, federal officials said this week in urging manufacturers to follow voluntary safety standards.
From the start of January through November 28, 2022, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission received at least 208 reports of electric scooters, e-bikes and other so-called micro-mobility products overheating or bursting into flames, the agency said in a news release.
The incidents resulted in at least 19 deaths, including five related to e-scooters, 11 with hoverboards and three connected to e-bikes, the agency said. CPSC also received reports of at least 22 injuries treated in hospital emergency departments during that period, 12 related to e-scooters and 10 involving e-bikes, it added.
An electric scooter battery sparked a fire that killed an 8-year-old girl in New York City, authorities said in September. The death of Stephanie Villa Torres was at least the third time in a little over a year that a fatal fire in the city has been linked to a scooter battery.
Products that don’t comply with established standards “may pose an unreasonable risk to consumers of fire and serious injury or death,” CPSC stated Monday in a letter to more than 2,000 manufacturers and importers. Complying with standards “significantly reduces the risk of injuries and deaths from micro-mobility device fires,” the letter said.
Manufacturers were urged to review their product lines. “Failure to do so puts U.S. consumers at risk of serious harm and may result in enforcement action,” cautioned Robert Kaye, director of the office of compliance and field operations at CPSC.
The agency last year warned of a 70% spike in injuries over four years, stemming from use of the products. CPSC recorded at least 71 deaths from 2017 through 2020.
That hazard extends to pedestrians, a danger illustrated by the death of actress Lisa Banes after getting hit by an e-scooter while crossing the street in New York City in June of 2021.
CPSC a week ago posted a recall of e-bikes distributed by Gyroor after the company received two reports of battery packs igniting and two reports of injuries requiring medical attention. There have been a number of other recalls for the same reason this year.
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