Liverpool e-scooters ‘safe’ despite battery-related blazes in London and Bristol, claims Voi

Voi has given assurances e-scooters in Liverpool are safe despite issues with lithium batteries catching fire in other schemes across the country.

E-scooter covered in smoke in Bristol before fire crews arrive

The operators of rental e-scooters in Liverpool have said riders can ‘confidently’ continue to use their scooters in the city despite a number of incidents involving the vehicles catching fire across the country.

Voi temporarily stopped its long-term rental (LTR) scooter scheme in Bristol following an incident on 4 December when one of its LTR e-scooters caught fire.

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A video shows firefighters hosing down the e-scooter after it started burning in a man’s home.

Rental user Tiernan Power took the scooter outside and then called 999 after smoke ‘burst out’ and began to ‘engulf the whole area’.

Firefighters from Avon and Fire Rescue Service arrived and spent more than two hours hosing down the e-scooter.

It is believed that an electrical fault had caused the lithium battery on the scooter to begin burning.

Last week, Transport for London (TfL) banned e-scooters from public transport in London after the battery on one scooter exploded last month.

A safety review carried out by TfL found the fires were caused by faulty third-party lithium batteries.

The move has been backed by the London Fire Brigade which was called to more than 50 blazes involving e-scooters and e-bikes this year.

E-scooters were banned from the Tyne and Wear Metro and Shields Ferry from 13 December.

National Federation of the Blind of the UK (NFBUK) has praised the public transport e-scooter bans, describing the mode of transport as a ‘ticking time bomb’.

Merseyrail said although there have been no incidents involving e-scooters across its network, it is reviewing the rules around e-scooters ‘along with the rest of the UK rail industry’.

‘People should not be bringing e-scooters onto trains’

All passenger and freight rail companies are members of the Rail Delivery Group (RDG).

An RDG spokesperson said ‘strictly speaking people shouldn’t really be bringing them onto trains in the first place’ as e-scooters should only be used on private land or a part of rental scheme.

He added: “If e-scooters do become legal for wider use, rather than ban them, in the first instance we’d want only the scooters that meet the highest safety standards to be sold in the UK so that this quick and green way of getting to the station is safe for everyone.”

The view of Voi in Liverpool

Jack Samler, Voi general manager, said: "This was an isolated, one-off issue with one scooter from our Long Term Rental service in Bristol - this service is not available in Liverpool.

"We pride ourselves on having one of the safest, most robust and efficient scooter fleets in Europe, and we uphold the highest levels of e-scooter maintenance to ensure riders have the best possible experience when using one of our shared e-scooters.

"Our users can rest assured that they can confidently continue to use our Pay as You Go service in Liverpool.”

E-scooter crime in Merseyside

Between Sept 2020 and May 2021 Merseyside Police recorded 258 crimes involving an e-scooter or e-bike.

The figures were revealed at a Merseyside police and crime commissioner scrutiny meeting in November.