Coroner calls for Government action over e-bike fires after Bristol death

Abdul Jabar Oryakhel
-Credit: (Image: Mirror)

A coroner has called for Government action over electric bike battery fires to prevent future deaths. Maria Voisin, senior coroner for Avon, issued the plea after presiding over an inquest into the death of Abdul Oryakhel who fell from the window of his 16th-floor flat while trying to escape a blaze.

Mr Oryakhel - who had arrived in Bristol after leaving Afghanistan only a few months earlier - died on September 25, 2022 on Stapleton Road, Easton, after the fall from Twinnell House.

He fell from the top floor of the building after a fire started when a lithium-ion e-bike battery pack overheated and ignited.

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In a prevention of future deaths report, Ms Voisin wrote: "There appears to be a lack of understanding of the dangers with lithium-ion batteries used for e-bikes and e-scooters."

"I understand that there is currently no British or European standard to control what lithium-ion e-bike batteries and chargers can be sold in the UK."

A man died in a fire at Twinnell House in Easton -Credit:Bristol Live
A man died in a fire at Twinnell House in Easton -Credit:Bristol Live

"From what I am told there is an increase in the number of people buying and using e-bikes and e-scooters."

"I am aware that other coroner's have written similar reports but this only goes to emphasise that preventable deaths continue."

"In my opinion action should be taken to prevent future deaths and I believe you have the power to take such action."

A Government response is required by September 12. Two other prevention of future deaths reports have been written by coroners in England in relation to e-bike battery fires in the past year.

A fireman at Twinnell House
A fireman at Twinnell House -Credit:Tom Wren SWNS

Lesley Rudd, chief executive of charity Electrical Safety First, said: "This very sad circumstance marks the third letter of its kind to be sent to the Government recommending action is taken to prevent further loss of life from e-bike battery fires.

"The evidence is indisputable that the status quo is costing lives."

"It is essential the next Government prioritises this issue and introduces tighter product safety laws for e-bikes and their batteries in a bid to prevent these devastating fires.

"We continue to call for the introduction of third-party certification for these devices to reduce the risk to life that substandard batteries and their accessories pose to households.

"We first presented our proposals to tackle this escalating threat last year, and since then, we have seen a worrying increase in e-bike fires across the UK."

"This problem is worsening, and without urgent Government intervention, more lives will be lost."