Retailers of e-bikes could see store fronts padlocked and shuttered under a bill the City Council passed Wednesday giving the FDNY authority to enforce a ban on the sale or rental of these mobility devices with unsafe, uncertified batteries.

“The point is that these stores cannot be selling these uncertified batteries that then get plugged in and cause these fires,” Councilwoman Gale Brewer, a Manhattan Democrat who sponsored the bill, said.

It’s one of the latest bills aimed at keeping off the streets unsafe lithium-ion batteries linked to deadly fires — the most recent one, in Harlem on Friday.

What You Need To Know

  • The City Council passed a bill Wednesday that would give the FDNY authority to close stores that violate a ban on sale of unsafe e-bikes and batteries

  • The bill passing follows a deadly fire in Harlem that killed a 27-year-old man, the first person to die this year from a fire sparked by a lithium-ion battery

  • A bill to require licensing and registration of e-bikes will be introduced in March

Harlem Councilman Yusef Salaam offered a moment of silence for his constituent who died in that fire — 27-year-old journalist Fazil Khan.

“My community was extremely blessed to have him,” Salaam said. “This city was blessed to have him. May he rest in peace.”

Khan was the 29th person to die in a fire caused by lithium-ion batteries since 2021.

Two bills on e-bikes were passed Wednesday. One would give authority to the Fire Department to enforce the retailer ban and increase fines to $2,000 dollars after a first violation.

The FDNY can padlock a store after three violations within three years. Retailers would also be required to keep records proving that e-bikes and batteries are certified safe.

Another bill that passed Wednesday would require safety information about lithium-ion battery safety be posted in stores and online, under penalty of fines.

Councilwoman Brewer said her approach goes after the stores, not the bicycle owners, many of whom are delivery workers.

“I think the challenge to those particularly enforcement agents is, what exactly is an uncertified battery so I do think that the shops are the right way to go and we’re also very conscious of making sure that the delivery folks are able to deliver,” she said.

Councilman Oswald Feliz of the Bronx said the bills make retailers accountable for violating the ban on sales of unsafe devices.

“Of course, we need to create accountability related measures, so that if they do sell a certified battery or an uncertified one, we know where it came from so there can be accountability for the unlawful sale,” Feliz said.

There has been an effort in the City Council to have e-bikes licensed and registered with the city Department of Transportation, to make sure they’re safe and up to code.

There was a bill introduced last session to do that, however it didn’t go anywhere.

Still, it picked up 33 sponsors. The main sponsor of that legislation, Councilman Bob Holden of Queens, said he plans to reintroduce it next month.