Dubai: E-scooters are banned inside some apartments; here's why

Dubai: E-scooters are banned inside some apartments; here's why

The mode of transportation has gained popularity among UAE residents due to its practicality, leading to an increasing number of users.

Some residential buildings in Dubai have issued an order for their tenants not to bring e-scooters inside their apartments, citing safety reasons.

An administrator for a cluster of residential buildings in Al Barsha who requested not to be named said the directive came from the management

“following complaints from tenants that e-scooters crowd corridors and common areas in shared accommodation. Some also fear that they (e-scooters) pose fire risk, especially when left charging overnight.”

“There have been few instances – not in our building – of e-scooter battery sparking and catching fire,”

the building administrator noted.

E-scooter have increasingly become popular among UAE residents because of their practicality. They are also appropriately promoted as first and last-mile green mobility solutions, suited for short distances.

Current demand

RoadSafety UAE, however, noted,

“the appropriate infrastructure is growing, but it does not match the current demand and use of e-scooters."

Thomas Edelmann, founder and managing director of RoadSafetyUAE said,

“We see all ages of e-scooter users. We see e-scooters used practically on all surfaces, like roads, pedestrian walkways, and bike lanes. We observe careless users like even on dedicated zones at night many e-scooters go without lights; only a minority wear helmets, protective gear, and reflective safety vests.”

Fire hazard

Other safety experts have also warned against the use of substandard e-scooters and chargers that are easily available online. E-scooters are powered by lithium-ion batteries that can overheat, catch fire and cause an explosion, especially when they are damaged or manufactured defectively.

Although there is no available data on e-scooters catching fire, there has been a couple of instances of e-scooter batteries overheating and exploding.

Carlo, a long-time Dubai resident who lives in Deira, recounted how his e-scooter exploded. He said:

“I left my e-scooter – as I used to do – charging in the kitchen overnight. At first, I smelled something like burning plastic and when I checked the kitchen it was already too late – the battery exploded.”

The incident occurred early this year.

“It happened so fast and I was not able to run away. Thankfully, ours was not an open kitchen so the fire was immediately contained and no other room was affected. But I still suffered from third-degree burns,”

he added.

Carlo, who has been using an e-scooter for his commute to work for over three years now, said he was completely unaware that the battery replacement for his e-scooter he bought online did not meet the safety standards.

Safety experts explain

“Lithium-ion batteries are designed to contain a massive amount of energy in a very small space. When damaged or not properly maintained, the battery can overheat.”

If one cell overheated, a process called ‘thermal runaway’ could happen and cause a spark or chemical reaction leading to an explosion.

However, electric vehicle batteries, including those used for e-scooters remain far safer and cause fewer accidents than fires caused by cooking, heating, or smoking, according to experts.

Make safety a priority

E-scooter riders must always bear in mind to make safety a priority. Here are various tips culled from various sources to reduce the risk of fire when charging an e-scooter:

  • Never charge overnight, while you are out, or asleep
  • Stay away from substandard scooters and chargers that are easily available online
  • Don’t buy cheap and knock-off replacement lithium batteries. Buy from reputable sellers only
  • Keep an eye out for warning signs that your battery might be failing and becoming a fire risk
  • Install smoke alarms where you charge your batteries
  • Use the correct charger for your battery
  • Unplug your charger once the battery has finished charging

News Source: Khaleej Times

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