The New York City Public Housing Authority is considering a new rule that would ban tenants and guests from storing electric bikes inside its 177,000 apartments across the city.
The move comes after a series of fires that were caused by e-bike batteries. While the proposed rule is meant to improve safety, advocates say it could create challenges for food delivery workers who rely on e-bikes for their jobs and who often store them in their living space.
The proposed policy will undergo a public comment period until Sept. 6, at which point the housing authority said it will review and consider stakeholder feedback before issuing a final policy, a NYCHA spokesperson said Thursday.
Originally, NYCHA had planned for the public comment period to run until July 10, before issuing its decision by Aug. 15.
According to the FDNY, 104 fires across the city were sparked by lithium-ion batteries last year. As of July 7, the city has seen another 104 fires caused by lithium-ion batteries since the start of 2022.
A NYCHA spokesperson said there have been 25 lithium-ion fire investigations in NYCHA buildings since Jan. 1, 2021, including eight so far this year.
One NYCHA resident told NY1 reporter Alyssa Paolicelli that storing e-bikes inside the buildings presents too big a risk.
“That’s a tough choice, but to me, my life counts first,” said Manny Ramirez.
Meanwhile, advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, in a statement, said the city should work to develop a solution for e-bike storage in NYCHA buildings rather than ban them altogether.
“Instead of a ban, we would urge the Adams administration to come to the table with solutions like building out secure bike parking and public e-bike charging,” the statement read. “This infrastructure would be a real win for residents of NYCHA developments and all New Yorkers across the five boroughs.”
Los Deliveristas Unidos/Workers Justice Project, which represents app delivery workers in New Yok City, could not immediately be reached for comment.