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NYC Mayor Adams powers up safe streets with groundbreaking e-bike charging pilot

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In a pioneering move to revolutionize electric micromobility in the city, Mayor Eric Adams has unveiled plans for a lithium-ion battery-charging pilot program, set to commence early next year.

The initiative aims to provide a secure and accessible means for delivery workers to charge their e-bikes in public spaces, fostering safer practices and mitigating the risk of battery-related fires.

Under the banner of the “Charge Safe, Ride Safe” plan, the pilot will explore diverse charging technologies, including battery-swapping networks and fast-charging docks.

Mayor Adams emphasized the importance of safeguarding delivery workers, acknowledging their vital role in the lives of New Yorkers.

“New Yorkers rely on delivery workers for so much, and this innovative pilot program will test different technologies to make this technology safer as we continue to do all we can to help protect workers from the dangers that lithium-ion batteries can pose,” said Mayor Adams.

He added, “By investing in battery-swapping networks and fast-charging e-bike docks, we’re building e-bike-friendly infrastructure and preparing our city’s streets for a new generation of users.

“Today’s announcement builds on our holistic strategy to ensure that we safely harness the transformative potential of e-bikes in our city.”

Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi echoed this sentiment, highlighting the economic pressures on delivery workers and emphasizing the pilot’s role in creating safe and sustainable conditions for them to operate.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez praised the initiative as a step towards a safer and more sustainable city, providing essential infrastructure for delivery workers.

The program, developed through collaboration with DOT Studio, will undergo rigorous testing and gather feedback from participants to inform future citywide efforts. This initiative builds upon existing projects, including “deliverista hubs” and a $25 million USDOT grant for outdoor electric-micromobility charging stations.

Fires caused by lithium-ion batteries in micromobility devices have seen a significant rise, prompting the need for comprehensive measures.

Mayor Adams’s multifaceted strategy includes promoting safe battery use, increased education, federal regulation advocacy, and enhanced enforcement against high-risk situations.

The initiative aligns with recent bills to regulate lithium-ion batteries in NYC and strengthen fire safety protocols.

The gravity of the issue is underscored by the alarming statistics—battery-related fires escalated from 30 in 2019 to 253 in 2023, resulting in an average of three deaths and 66 injuries annually.

The pilot, backed by the FDNY and the Department of Consumer and Worker Protection, aims to curb these incidents by offering safe charging alternatives.

City officials, legislators, and advocacy groups lauded Mayor Adams’s initiative, recognizing its potential to enhance safety, protect delivery workers, and promote the responsible use of electric micromobility.

As the program takes flight, it marks a significant leap towards shaping a future where e-bikes contribute to a cleaner, safer, and more efficient urban landscape.

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