In today’s fast-paced world, electric bikes (e-bikes) and scooters are becoming an increasingly common means of transportation. They represent a growing preference for more sustainable, efficient, and flexible transit options, particularly in urban environments where they are highly cost effective. In the suburbs, they are often regarded as a great option to reconnect with the outdoors. Older users that relegated their bicycle to their storage units are now more inclined to get out and exercise again with the electric assistance of an e-bike.
With the rapid adoption of e-bikes and scooters by commuters, insurance carriers have yet to implement specific requirements, guidelines, and restrictions concerning the management of these vehicles. However, as there is an imminent need to mitigate risks associated with e-bikes and scooters—such as accidents, thefts, vandalism, and perhaps most importantly, fire—regulations for insurance carriers or by cities are not a matter of “if” but “when.”
In order to keep users safe and help you prepare for upcoming insurance regulations, we’ve come up with some tips to address potential risk exposures. So if you are unable to eliminate an exposure entirely due to town ordinance, your Association’s current governing documents, or other factors, these are some great ways to proactively prepare for regulatory changes and maintain a safe and efficient community environment.
1: Designate a Charging Area
Designating a specific zone for charging e-bikes and scooters will help centralize their use and make for safer and easier management. This dedicated area works to organize these vehicles, preventing scattering and potential obstructions in public spaces. And it will encourage responsible use and recharging practices among riders by instilling a sense of accountability. Designated charging stations also present an excellent means to provide safety materials, such as brochures. Additionally, depending on the layout of your community, this measure may be a good way to reduce the fire exposure by having the charging location outside or in a sprinklered area.
2: Introduce Registration Requirements
Introducing a mandatory registration process for all e-bikes and scooters will ensure vehicles are properly documented and easy to identify. This requirement helps create a secure database that will deter thieves and vandals by establishing clear ownership. In case of legal infringements or accidents, registered vehicles can be easily traced back to their users. Also, if it is not possible or practical to ban e-bikes and scooters in your community, a registration system may be combined with a cap to prevent a proliferation of these vehicles.
3: Enforce Unit Charging Limit
If residents choose to charge bikes in their own units, enforcing a limit on the number of bikes per unit will help prevent potential electrical overloads and reduce fire risks associated with charging multiple vehicles simultaneously (some e-bikes have a removable battery that does not require charging while installed on the bike itself). Additionally, it will help avoid clutter and obstruction in residential or storage areas.
4: Implement Fire Safety Measures
Implementing fire safety measures around e-bikes and scooters is extremely important, given the risks associated with their batteries and charging systems. Not all batteries are made equal, and some are more prone to overheating, malfunction, and fire than others. In addition to enforcing a unit charging limit, all registrants of these vehicles should also have an approved fire extinguisher in their unit.
5: Professionally Install Charging Stations
Utilizing qualified professionals guarantees that all work performed will comply with local safety standards and building codes, thereby minimizing potential hazards such as electrical fires or malfunctions. When installing chargers in the designated charging area, ensure that only insured and licensed electricians are hired for the installation.
6: Talk to Your JGS Insurance Advisor
Having a trusted insurance advisor by your side to help you navigate changing regulations around e-bikes and scooters in your community is invaluable. Your JGS team is here for you. Give us a call any time for more safety tips, to discuss the current risk landscape, and to explore available insurance solutions together.
David Velasco has worked in the habitational industry for close to a decade and thrives on connecting people. Solving problems for clients and connections is his daily motivation. Joining the JGS team is a natural progression of his path forward. Serving on the committees of several organizations, he is a recognized industry professional, providing education through his webinar series, public speaking engagements, and social media presence.