E-Bikes: Keep Them Or Ban Them For Your Community Association

Lithium-ion battery-powered bikes have become increasingly popular among commuters and cyclists. They offer an eco-friendly and efficient way to travel, making them a favorite choice among those who want to reduce their carbon footprint. However, with the rise in the number of e-bike users, many condominium associations have started to consider banning lithium-ion battery bikes.

Lithium-ion battery bikes have been associated with several issues, which have led to concerns among condominium associations. One of the most significant concerns is safety. Lithium-ion batteries have been known to explode or catch fire, causing severe injuries and even fatalities. Chemically, it is called “thermal runaway.”

Such incidents have raised alarms among association members, who are worried about the safety of their residents and their property.
It is important to note incidents have reportedly been related to after-market, refurbished or perhaps counterfeit lithium ion batteries.
Another issue with lithium-ion battery bikes is their charging requirements. These batteries need to be charged regularly, and if not done properly, they can cause a fire hazard. Furthermore, charging e-bikes in public areas can pose a safety hazard, as charging cables can cause trip and fall accidents.

Noise pollution is another issue that has contributed to the banning of e-bikes in some condominium associations. Electric motors produce a distinct noise, which can be bothersome to residents. If there are several e-bike users in a building, the noise can become a nuisance, causing disturbances for others.
The storage of e-bikes is another issue that associations have to deal with. Condominium buildings usually have limited storage space, and accommodating a large number of e-bikes can be challenging. This can result in e-bikes being stored in public areas, creating a cluttered and unsightly environment.

The banning of e-bikes in condominium associations is not a new phenomenon. Several buildings have already implemented such bans, citing safety concerns and other issues. However, the decision to ban e-bikes should not be taken lightly. Associations should conduct thorough research and consider all factors before making such a decision.
If a condominium association decides to ban e-bikes, it should ensure that all residents are informed of the decision and provided with an adequate explanation. Associations should also provide alternative solutions, such as secure storage facilities for e-bikes outside the building, to accommodate residents who still want to use them.

In conclusion, the rise in the number of e-bike users has led to several concerns among condominium associations, including safety, noise pollution, and storage. While banning e-bikes might seem like a solution to these issues, it is crucial that associations conduct thorough research and consider all factors before making such a decision. If a ban is implemented, alternative solutions should be provided to accommodate residents who still want to use e-bikes.

If your community is considering banning the storage of e-bikes or similar products containing lithium ion batteries, it is suggested you check sources and facts and consult with your legal counsel for advice on the matter and to help assist the Board in its decision-making process.

Thomas C. Martin, Esq., Partner,
Price, Meese, Shulman & D’Arminio, P.C.
May 5, 2023