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Metrolinx to ban some e-bikes on GO Trains starting next month

After months of review, Metrolinx said Thursday its updating its e-bike policy. Starting next month, only e-bikes with batteries that are
After months of review, Metrolinx said Thursday its updating its e-bike policy. Starting next month, only e-bikes with batteries that are

Metrolinx is cracking down on some e-bikes on its GO Trains, months after it announced it was looking into its e-bike policy.

At the beginning of this year, the provincial transit agency said it would still allow all e-bikes on its trains, after an e-bike lithium ion battery fire on a TTC subway train made headlines.

But that will change starting next month, according to an email from Metrolinx media relations manager, Andrea Ernesaks. Soon, all bikes need to be "UL" or "CE" certified, she said.

"Over the course of the past several months, Metrolinx has been actively reviewing our bike policies to support increased demand from our bike users," said Ernesaks.

"To ensure the safety of our customers and better align with other jurisdictions, Metrolinx will require e-bike batteries to comply with standard UL or CE requirements, in addition to other measures, effective April 9," she added.

"CE" stands for Conformité Européenne certification, which signifies that products sold particularly in Europe have been assessed to meet high safety, health, and environmental protection requirements, according to the European Union.

Meanwhile, "UL" stands for a certification by the Underwriters Laboratories Of Canada, an independent organization that conducts product safety testing, certification, and inspection.

"More details will be shared prior to this date to ensure customers have time to adjust to the changes," said Ernesaks.

The majority of e-bike batteries are lithium ion, said Ernesaks, adding fires related to such batteries have been a growing concern prior in Toronto as use of the vehicle increases.

Accordin to Toronto Fire Services, in 2022, there were 29 fires in Toronto originating from lithium ion batteries, growing to 55 the following year — a nearly 90 per cent increase. The Office of the Fire Marshal told CBC Toronto in October it has also noticed an increase in lithium ion battery fires provincewide.